January 18, 2018 (JUBA)-The defence team for the former spokesperson of the former first vice president turned rebel leader Riek Machar announced withdrawal from the case, citing unfair trial despite the recent signing of a cessation of hostilities.
- James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ‘Reuters photo)
The lead defence lawyer Monyuak Alor Kuol told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that they decided to pull from the process because of “unfair trial.”
James Gatdet Dak was deported to Juba by Kenyan authorities in November 2016 where he has since been in detention after the government prosecutor brought treason charges and other serious charges against him.
Kuol, his defence lawyers, says the charges brought his client were political crimes to be addressed through political processes.
“We decided to leave the trial process because of some reasons. One of the main reasons is that the trial process is unfair. Number two the charges levelled against James were purely political crimes. They are not criminal offences against the state. Thirdly, the procedures are not fair. We have a problem with the procedures followed by the prosecution,” explained Kuol.
He said his client is a political detainee to be released under Article 8 of the signed ceasefire agreement that states that all political detainees should be released after it was signed.
“Within 72 hours of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall submit to the ICRC a complete list of PoWs, and all political prisoners and detainees, and released them within 14 days,” provides the cessation of hostilities agreement signed on 21 December 2017.
“James is a political detainee but the prosecution team decided to go ahead with the trial of James Gatdet despite being aware of the provision of the ceasefire agreement,” he said
“Because of this lack of unfairness, we decided to pull out from prosecution,” he stressed.
Kuol accused the prosecution and the ministry of justice of ignoring the provisions of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
” We want the world to know the issue. The agreement is being monitored, so the monitors will look into it. The problem is not the court,” he added.