Quash death sentence, Amnesty International tells S. Sudan

February 13, 2018 (NAIROBI) – The campaign group, Amnesty International on Tuesday called or the immediate squashing of the death penalty against former rebel spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak.

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James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ‘Reuters photo)

A South Sudan court on Monday sentenced the former spokesman of the rebel leader, Riek Machar to death, citing multiple provisions in the constitution as the basis upon which the verdict was reached.

Dak was facing several charges, including accusations of treason.

The lead-defence lawyer in the case, Monyluak Alor Kuol described the verdict as a political decision

“Gatdet’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately. The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances,” said Sarah Jackon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

She described the sentence as “completely unacceptable” and must be quashed immediately by the South Sudanese government.

“Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month. In any case, the death penalty has no place in the modern era,” Jackon further stated.

“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 added.

The campaign group said 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, describing death penalty as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Dak was unlawfully transferred from Kenya to South Sudan in November 2016. He spent over 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 President Salva Kiir.

(ST)