February 12, 2018 (JUBA) – A South Sudan court has sentenced to death by hanging James Gatdet Dak, the spokesman of the rebel leader Riek Machar, citing multiple provisions in the constitution as the basis upon which the verdict was reached.
- James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ’Reuters photo)
Dak was facing several charges including treason charges. The special court announced the verdict sentencing him to death by hanging on Monday morning.
The lead-defence lawyer Monyluak Alor Kuol described the verdict as a political decision.
“You know we pulled out last time from this process because we realized the whole thing was political. And because it was a political case, we thought it was to be addressed through a political process like the peace which is being revitalized in Addis Ababa, which called for the release of political detainees because the charges are not criminal charges in nature,” Kuol told Sudan Tribune on Mondy.
“Unfortunately we told today that the court has announced the verdict and we hear that James is sentenced to death by hang. In another verdict, we hear he is sentenced to life in prison and there is a sentence talking of 20 years in prison. You really don’t know the bases. We are going to study the case when it is brought to us again by the family. This is what I know,” explained Kuol.
The verdict sentenced him for allegedly inciting violence which falls under treason charges according to article 64, disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security under article 75 and insulting the president under article 76 under the South Sudanese penal code of 2008.
High court judge Ladu Armenio read out the three charges allegedly violated by Dak. He said his relatives have the right to hire a lawyer to appeal against the court ruling within 15 days.
On 3 November 2016, the Kenyan authorities deported the spokesperson of armed opposition leader, Riek Machar from Nairobi to Juba because he praised a UN report denouncing the failure of UNMISS to protect civilians in Juba.
The rebel spokesperson also applauded the then UN chief Ban Ki-moon who requested the replacement of UNMISS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani who himself is a Kenyan citizen