Right Defenders Demand the Release of Machar’s Ex-spokesman
Mar 14th 2018(Nyamilepedia) – In a press statement received by the Nyamilepedia, right defenders from almost 30 civil society organizations demand the release of James Gatdet Dak, former spokesman of the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar, who was sentence to death by hanging in February 2018 after more than one year in prison.
“We, the undersigned human rights defenders, call on the government of South Sudan to unconditionally and urgently RELEASE James Gatdet Dak” partly read the statement released by the right defenders.
The right defenders accused Kenyan security operatives of co-operating with their South Sudanese counterparts to deport Gatdet to Juba and accused the government of Kenya of being aware that James Gatdet Dak was in Kenya under legal refugee status. “James Gatdet Dak was abducted from his home in Nairobi, Kenya, by the Kenyan security agents in collaboration with South Sudan National Security. He was later extradited and handed over to the South Sudan government on 3 November 2016. The governments of Kenya and South Sudan coordinated the abduction and extradition despite the fact that the Kenya government was aware of James Gatdet Dak being in Kenya under legal asylum status.
Gatdet was arrested in Kenya and was subsequently deported to the South Sudan’s capital Juba by a join Kenyan and South Sudanese security operatives and had since remained in detention until his appearance in a Juba court late last year. Before his deportation to Juba, James Gatdet expressed support for the removal of a Kenyan general of the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan accused of failing to protect civilians after the second outbreak of the South Sudanese civil war in the capital in July 2016.
Gatdet was charged under article 64 with treason, disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security under article 75, and insulting the president under article 76 of the South Sudanese penal code of 2008. The statement also accuse the Kenyan government of violating its own constitution saying “The government of Kenya also violates the Bill of Rights provided for in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, under Chapter 4 especially Article 26 on right to life.”
The statement called on the regional community, the IGAD and the African Union to pressure Juba government, which it said should “listen to the voices of reason”, to release James Gatdet and called on Kenya to take responsibility and urge Juba to release James Gatdet Dak.