By Gai James Kai,
Dec 20, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — We the Mayiendit County community in Uganda and those in South Sudan write to express our deep concern over the unfounded arrest and detention of our beloved son (brother); Gatmai Gatluak Chuol Jut, a aid worker at UNIDO and his four other colleagues arrested by Juba government on their arrival from Unity State – Bentiu; on Friday last week; at 11am. We call on the government of South for their immediate release.
The five are among a group of aid workers belonging to UNIDO who have been arrested at Juba international airport on Friday afternoon; on their arrival from Unity State – Bentiu and since then, they have been held in detention at Juba – river-bank prison.
None of the five arrested has had access to legal counsel. During their detention, none of them have allowed a brief visit from their family. They have been held incommunicado since their unlawful arrest.
No details of the reasons for their arrest have been given, rather than that the five are Nuer ethnicity which is contrary to Article 14 of South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution (2011), that say; “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law without discrimination as to race, ethnic origin, colour, sex, language, religious creed, political opinion, birth, locality or social status.”
There is no ground for such charges against any of the five. Mr. Gatmai and his fellow work mates are just aid worker, and civil servants who has nothing, absolutely nothing about the mediocre politics of South Sudan. Gatmai is an active contributor to prominent citizens’ journalist sites like Nyamilepedia. His blogging and social activities are grounded in the promotion of human rights. His detention on the basis of his ethnicity is therefore unjustified and unfounded.
We would like to remind the government of South Sudan that as citizens of this nation (South Sudan), it is obligated to respect the principle contained in the Article 29 that say (1) Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of movement and the liberty to choose his or her residence except for reasons of public health and safety as shall be regulated by law. (2) Every citizen shall have the right to leave and or return to South Sudan. ‘‘respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and promotion of social justice’’ we do not believe that the ongoing detention of our beloved son (Gatmai Gatluak Chuol) and his other four colleagues can be justified in light this obligation.
We would furthermore remind the Government of South Sudan as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is legally bound to respect the right to freedom of speech and expression; the right to liberty and the security of the person; and the right to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
Arbitrary deprivation of liberty violates Article 9 of the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UN working Group on Arbitrary Group Detention has found that the prolonged or indefinite nature of detention contribute its arbitrary nature. Our beloved son (brother); Gatmai Gatluak Chuol and his four other colleagues from Nuer ethnicity have been in detention for three days and nights now, without any indication as to when their detention might come to an end.
This type of detention, for no apparent reason, without any set limits of its duration, and with severe restrictions on any form of communication with the outside world also amount to violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, which proscribes torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; as well as Article 18 of our Transitional Constitution on Civil and Political Rights; which provides for humane treatment during detention. This applies all the more so to the case of Gatmai Gatluak and his four other colleagues’ who are being held in Juba incommunicado.
Finally, refusing our son (Gatmai) access to legal counsel violates Article 20 of Transitional Constitution of The Republic of South Sudan that provide “The right to litigation shall be guaranteed for all persons; no person shall be denied the right to resort to courts of law to redress grievances whether against government or any individual or organization on Civil and political Rights.”
Mayiendit County Community in the East Africa in particular; and in the whole world at large call on the Government of South Sudan to dismiss all any charges against Gatmai and his work mates, to immediately release them from custody, and to allow them immediate access to a legal counsel of their choice.
We reject any attempt to imply that somehow these acts are understandable given the oppressive conditions faced by the perpetrators.
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