Political Prisoners Pleading not Guilty!

Majak Agot 2014-04-15 at 7.48.08 PM

One of the 4 political prisoners being tried in connection with an alleged coup attempt, Dr. Majak Agot, the former Minister of Defence(Photo: supplied)

April 15, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) — Dr. Majak Agot, the former Defence Minister, has pleaded not guilty. Dr. Majak was arrested in December, together with other 12 senior politicians who organized a press conference, in Juba, under the leadership of the party vice chairman, Dr. Riek Machar, who is currently leading an armed opposition, the SPLM/A-iO.

Their arrest was promoted by the misunderstanding within the presidential guards on December 15, which president Salva Kiir believes was a coup, contrary to the oppositions and the international community reports. Many South Sudanese are coming to term with slagging prosecution, and the lack of evidence to prove that it was a coup d’etat.

Key witnesses failed to show up to testify in court and some, including the chief of military of intelligence, have denied that it was a coup.

Majak was a accused for an attempt to make phone calls to influence members of the presidential guards, from Bor community, to overthrow the president. The intents for such an act are believed to have been motivated by an arrangement to install Dr. Majak as a deputy president to Dr. Riek Machar. However, none of the suspected military generals was arrested.

Dr. Majak has denied all the allegations, in the strongest terms possible, pledging that the country is being ruled by one man with impunity. Majak blames the crisis on what he terms as “wrong polices the government imposed since early last year”.

“My lord, I have denied all the charges labelled against me by this prosecutor. I didn’t do any of those he described. I denied these in the strongest terms possible. They are all fabrications and should be dismissed. After this cases are through, South Sudan will never be the same again. What we fought for seemed to have gone. No one in my calibre can do this. I believe the country is being ruled with impunity. I denied this and I would like to plead not guilty.” – an highly irritated Agot argued.

Dr. Majak further reiterated, in his opening remarks, that the historic imprisonment of the politicians would set the new nation on a new path, repeating that the country would never be the same.

“Whatever verdict this court will take, South Sudan will never be the same, this marks the end of impunity, rule of man
and the rule of law shall prevail,”  Dr. Majak told the court.

“There is a special linkage that this trial is taking place in Easter season, such that our sufferings was the violations of our
rights, it will mean freedom and liberty to many, I strongly belief South Sudan is not going to be the same. No one will ever
imprison another person before thinking twice,” Dr. Majak boldly stated.

Majak is the third political prisoner to testify in court, after Sectary General Pagan Amum and Oyai Deng Ajak, the former chief of staff. Pagan testified, in the absent of the prosecutor, on 11 April while Oyai testified on 8 April, 2014. The two accused pleaded not guilty.  Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the former South Sudan ambassador to United State, is next to testify.

Two political detainees, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, an ex-minister for higher education and Deng Deng Akon, the former director in the office of Dr. Riek Machar, the former vice-president, were released before 28 December, 2013.

Adwok, however, remains under house arrest in Juba. This came as Adwok was expected to leave the country to attend peace talks in Ethiopia, on the SPLM [in opposition]  side.

Seven political detainees, who are yet to participate as a third block in the peace talk, were released on January 28 into custody of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta. The G-7 were later transferred to Ethiopia to attend the peace talk, as IGAD approves, however, Juba believes that they can only participate as rebels or else risked being excluded from the talks.

The release of the political detainees has been one of the preconditions set by the SPLM [in opposition], however, Juba maintains that all the political detainees, including the G-7, must be tried.

The government has consulted the IGAD member states like Sudan, Ugandan and Rwanda to exclude the political detainees from the peace talk, a call that may not settle well with the TROIKA (US, Norway and UK) and their partners. TROIKA believes that the peace talk, which will resume next week, must be comprehensive and inclusive in order to find long terms solutions.

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