Arbitrary arrests must end in South Sudan: HRW demands as authorities detain govt critics on ambiguous charges

hrw demands as authorities detain govt critics on ambiguous charges

hrw demands as authorities detain govt critics on ambiguous charges

Sudan Sudan – Global watchdog, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, March 1, that authorities of South Sudan must free the two government critics who have been detained on rather ambiguous charges since mid of 2021. The HRW further demanded that South Sudan must end the practice of arbitrary detentions and arrests.

Lawyers of the two government critics, Abraham Chol Akech and Kuel Aguer Kuel, have filed court petitions in February 2022 as they have been detained without being presented before the judge even once, which is a requirement under law. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions within the South Sudan’s Justice Ministry oversees all criminal matters, which include “investigations, prosecutions, making decisions on whether to prosecute, and advising other government institutions on crime-related issues.” The law also requires the prosecutors to decide on whether to begin or dismiss criminal proceedings as soon as possible.”

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“These extrajudicial detentions not only violate the fundamental rights of South Sudan’s citizens but compromise the integrity of the entire criminal justice system,” said Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of throwing critics in jail, the authorities should enhance civic space and advance the rule of law including respect for due process rights.”

Last year in July, Akech was detained for declaring that government of South Sudan would be ousted in a month. Later in August, Kuel was arrested for co-founding alleged “anti government movement”. Since then, none of them has been presented before a judge in court to either be formally charged or have reviewed their detention amid pending trial. “Their detentions are typical of a longstanding pattern of unlawful detentions and expose persistent weaknesses in the criminal justice system,” Human Rights Watch said.

Makuol Maketh, Akech’s relative, told Human Rights Watch, “A man of God cannot be treated like this when there is no case before court. I want him to be released. I have spoken to radio, newspaper and to some government officials. No one is answering our pleas. As a family and as a church we are sad and confused about this.”

Global watchdog, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, March 1, that authorities of South Sudan must free the two government critics who have been detained on rather ambiguous charges since mid of 2021. The HRW further demanded that South Sudan must end the practice of arbitrary detentions and arrests.

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Lawyers of the two government critics, Abraham Chol Akech and Kuel Aguer Kuel, have filed court petitions in February 2022 as they have been detained without being presented before the judge even once, which is a requirement under law. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions within the South Sudan’s Justice Ministry oversees all criminal matters, which include “investigations, prosecutions, making decisions on whether to prosecute, and advising other government institutions on crime-related issues.” The law also requires the prosecutors to decide on “whether to begin or dismiss criminal proceedings as soon as possible.”

“These extrajudicial detentions not only violate the fundamental rights of South Sudan’s citizens but compromise the integrity of the entire criminal justice system,” said Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of throwing critics in jail, the authorities should enhance civic space and advance the rule of law including respect for due process rights.”

Last year in July, Akech was detained for declaring that government of South Sudan would be ousted in a month. Later in August, Kuel was arrested for co-founding alleged “anti government movement”. Since then, none of them has been presented before a judge in court to either be formally charged or have reviewed their detention amid pending trial. “Their detentions are typical of a longstanding pattern of unlawful detentions and expose persistent weaknesses in the criminal justice system,” Human Rights Watch said.

Makuol Maketh, Akech’s relative, told Human Rights Watch, “A man of God cannot be treated like this when there is no case before court. I want him to be released. I have spoken to radio, newspaper and to some government officials. No one is answering our pleas. As a family and as a church we are sad and confused about this.”

“The authorities have shown that they cannot guarantee them speedy or fair trials and so should at a minimum restore their liberty and respect their rights to freedom of opinion and expression,” Pur said.

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