Juba, South Sudan,
June 24, 2021 – A military officer has been handed a 10-year jail term and fined SSP 500,000 by a Gender-Based Violence Court in Juba for sexual assault on a teenage girl.
Sgt. Garang Deng was arrested in 2020 by the police after having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl whose identity is withheld for legal reasons in the Juba suburb of Tongpiny.
The accused was charged according to Section Two (47) of the Penal Code Act 2008 which provides that whoever commits sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex without his or her consent would have committed an offense of rape and will be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years and will be liable for a fine upon conviction.
“The convict is sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment in remand from 22nd June 2021 and the convict must pay five hundred thousand South Sudanese Pounds to the victim by mean of a civil proceeding,” presiding Judge Francis Amum read part of the ruling.
“The convict is advised that he has the rights to the court of appeal within fifteen days’ judgment delivered in an open court of law on the 22 June 2021 by Judge, Francis Amum of the GBV Court in Juba,” part of the ruling continues.
However, testimonies from witnesses indicate that the accused and the victim consented to a love affair.
“On the 16th of June 2020, the accused person called the victim on a phone and he told the victim that he was sick and that he sustained injuries and if the victim loves him she must go and see him in Tongpiny residential area,” it reads in part.
“The victim accepted to go and see the accused in Tongpiny. While inside the room of the accused person, the accused penetrated the victim sexually after engagement and the accused person took the victim in a car and drove her from Tongpiny to New Site,” a part of the sentence further continues.
While in New Site, the accused person detained and stayed with the victim for a period of five days as husband and wife. Later on, the family of the victim sought the victim and found her at the accused house. A legal procedure was undertaken and a criminal case was filed on the 2nd of July, 2020 at the nearby police station in New Site.
Before the GBV Court, the accused confessed to having sexual intercourse with the victim several times.
The accused defense lawyer argued that his client wanted to marry the teenage girl according to their custom and tradition and submitting that early marriage was acceptable in their custom provided that both parties consented.