By Dak Buoth,
June 24, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- The Congress for South Sudanese Patriots is a progressive Civil Society Organization based in Nairobi founded in April 2013 to, among other functions, advocate for peace, Justice and democracy back in South Sudan, Africa and beyond.
On 13th June, a court-like Institution purported to have sentenced 16 defendants to life in prison for allegedly stealing more than 14 million US dollars at the office of General Salva Kiir in a coordinated process; among the convicts are four Kenyans namely: Ravi Ghanghda, Peter Nkonge, Anthony Wazombe and Anthony Munialo.
We doubt whether the due process of the law was followed to the letter and spirit. All we know is that justice and the rule of law have long been defeated in South Sudan.
It is common knowledge that the Judiciary was deliberately compromised, and thus, the High court is just an appendage of the ruling SPLM/SPLA and its affiliate militia groups.
First and foremost, the same Judiciary should be overhaul for it to make such landmark rulings; and for it to gain the trust and restore the confidence of all citizenry.
On the other hand, it was unwise for the High Court to sentenced the above mentioned convicts, and then goes on strike the following day (s), they could have put their strike on hold and allow the defendant’s counsel to make his appeal in the superior court within the stipulated timeframe. The law normally provides timeline within which an appeal can be file in the superior court; hence the decision to announce their strike hours after this infamous ruling was ill-advised.
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Although these fellow Kenyans could be guilty for alleged organized crime, we ask the government of South Sudan to hand over these four convicts to the Kenya correctional services to spend their life sentence there.
In our view, by handing over these four convicts to Kenya, the South Sudan government shall have created ‘extradition tradition’ between our two sisterly countries. At the moment, there are several young South Sudanese boys rotting in Kenyans jails including Peace Singer Joseph Nyuon Kuol who is currently at Nairobi’s Industrial Area Prison since July 2015 for petty offence that he was found in Kenya unlawfully without valid documents. Mr. Joseph Nyuon is due in Kibera law court tomorrow 24th June 2016. In the same veins, the South Sudan government can as well ask the Kenyan authority to hand over these innocent boys to them so that they can go home and become part of rebuilding and taking our country forward.
We’re concern about the lives of these four Kenyans in Juba prisons. The Jails in South Sudan are ‘death camps’, inmates who are incarcerated there face hellish experience as they undergo severe torture, starvation and murder often.
The prison services in South Sudan are not up to the international standard and norms. Majority of prisons in South Sudan were built by then Arabs Khartuom regime, these prisons were dug deep underground with no ventilation or electricity. These prisons have living conditions that are not fit even for swine.
The former apartheid detainee, President Nelson Madela once said that to know the actual state of a nation you have to visit its jails; a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones
The core functions of any Prison service in a civilized society is to rehabilitate offenders and keeps in safe custody those awaiting trails among others.
Dak Buoth Co- Chair, Congress for South Sudanese Patriots. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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