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ADDIS ABABA - 13 Feb 2018

South Sudan rebels 'disappointed' by death sentence against Gatdet

File photo: James Gatdet Dak
File photo: James Gatdet Dak

South Sudanese rebels loyal to the country’s former First Vice President Riek Machar said they are "disappointed" by the death sentence against James Gatdet Dak, despite the signed ceasefire truce which included a commitment to release detainees.

Gatdet, the former official spokesman of rebel leader Riek Machar who was facing treason charges in the capital Juba, was sentenced Monday to death.

The charges against Gatdet 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.

Mabior Garang, eldest son of late John Garang de Mabior, founder of the South Sudanese ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), said in a Monday statement that it is shameful that when the government should be working to create a conducive environment for negotiations, it has instead handed down a bogus death penalty against James Gatdet.

“This unjust abuse of the death penalty is not only against the CoH, but it is also contrary to basic human decency,” he said.

Mabior, who is the chairman of the SPLM-IO’s national committee for information and public relations, said they condemn this decision.

He called the international peace monitoring body, also known as CTSAMM, to intervene saying the court ruling could jeopardize the peace process.

The rebel official called on the government to reconsider its decision. “The Movement also takes this opportunity to assure our members, the people of South Sudan and the public at large, of our unwavering commitment to peace through a negotiated settlement,” said Mabior.