February 12, 2018 (JUBA) – The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In opposition (SPLM-IO) condemned the death sentence on the spokesperson of the group’s leader and called for regional and international pressure to ensure his release.
On Monday, a court in Juba sentenced James Gadet Dak, the spokesperson of SPLM-IO leader to death on charges of treason and incitement against the government.
In a statement issued from the venue of the peace revitalization process in Addis Abab, Mabior Garang Mabior, the chairman of the SPLM-IO information committee said they the death penalty handed down to James Gadet Dak, is a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement which provides to release the political detainees.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) condemns this cruel and unjust decision, which is another one of the continuous ploys by the regime to derail the peace process,” Mabior said.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) calls on CTSAMM to intervene in this most precarious situation which could negatively impact the peace process. The Movement further calls on the AU, Troika, the EU and the UN to intervene in this blatant violation of human rights,” he added.
Dak’s lawyer Monyluak Alor Kuol who resigned last month to protest against the case’s handling described the sentence as a political decision.
“You know we pulled out last time from this process because we realized the whole thing was political. And because it was a political case, we thought it was to be addressed through a political process like the peace which is being revitalized in Addis Ababa,” Kuol told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
However, Ambassador Gordon Buay, an adviser to the head of South Sudanese government negotiating team called to respect the court sentence.
He advised his lawyers to appeal the verdict and If Dak loses the appeal, they can challenge the appellate’s court decision before South Sudan Supreme Court.
“It will take two to three years appeals before the death sentence of the lower court is executed. If Mr Gatdet loses at the Supreme Court level, he still has a chance, that is, he can apply for Presidential Pardon,” he emphasized.
In a related development, the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), has called on International Community to immediately intervene in James Gatdet Dak case to stop the death sentence to happen.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the CPJ further has called on the South Sudanese justice to reverse its death verdict.
“The trial is not free and fair process because the South Sudan judicial decision is always influenced by other actors within the government,” said CPJ’s Executive Director Tito Anthony.