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SOUTH SUDAN: Activists demand Machar ex-spokesman Gatdet’s release

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KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) – Human Rights Defenders from the Great Lakes Region have called on the government to release prisoner James Gatdet, former spokesperson for South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar who was sentenced to death last month.

In a petition signed by more than 20 Human Rights defenders from South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, the Human Rights defenders demanded James Gatdet be released on grounds that he is a victim of political manipulations.

Biel Butros Biel, the Director South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy said political interests motivated the sentence.

In February this year, Dak, who was facing treason charges in the capital Juba, was sentenced to death.

He said the charges against the former rebel spokesman include inciting treason (article 64), disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security (article 75), and insulting the president (article 76) under the South Sudanese penal code of 2008.

For his part, high court judge Ladu Armenio also read out the three charges allegedly violated by James Gatdet.

James Gatdet was deported to Juba by Kenyan authorities in November 2016.

Just before his deportation to Juba, Gatdet had expressed his support for the removal of a Kenyan general of a United Nations peacekeeping force accused of failing to protect civilians after the outbreak of war in Juba in July last year.

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