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Gadtdet’s death penalty ‘unacceptable and must be squashed’

A human rights watchdog has described the death penalty of the former spokesman of Dr. Riek Machar as unacceptable and must be squashed immediately.

James Gatdet, who was accused of treason last year, was sentenced to death by a court in Juba on Monday.

He was also sentenced to 20 years in jail for other charges, including insulting the President.

Amnesty International East Africa Deputy Regional Director, Sarah Jackson, says Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month.

“Instead of sentencing people to death, the South Sudanese government should immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this cruel and inhuman penalty, as have 105 other countries around the globe,” she said.

“The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.”

Mr Gatdet was deported from Kenya in 2016 and has since been held at the National Security detention premises.

According to Amnesty International, he spent more than seven months in solitary confinement before finally being charged with abetment, treason, publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to South Sudan, and undermining the authority of or insulting the president.

The rights body says it opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

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