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JUBA - 27 Apr 2016

Rights groups call for release of political prisoners in South Sudan

Edmund Yakani, Executive Director of CEPO, on Tuesday called for the release of political prisoners who were detained for political reasons, for example, over alleged links to rebel leader Riek Machar, following the latter's return to South Sudan and swearing-in as vice president.

"CEPO is strongly calling upon the transitional government of national unity to unconditionally release all the political detainees across the country as a good gesture for reconciliation,” he said.

Yakani says the president's speech on the occasion of Machar's return to South Sudan is a clear declaration that the war has ended, adding his hopes that individuals detained “in the name of war” are unconditionally released.

"The unconditional release of the political detainees across the country offers greater opportunity for opening doors for reconciliation and healing among the communities,” Yakani said.

CEPO called on the presidency to act on the call for unconditional release of the political detainees. “It is a greater symbol that families and communities of political detainees will welcome and appreciate,” he further said.

Last week, rights group Amnesty International said that 35 men are arbitrarily detained by the National Security Service at their headquarters in the Jebel neighborhood of Juba. They have been denied the right to be brought promptly before a judge and the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, Amnesty said.

“None of them has access to legal counsel. In at least one case, a detainee has been denied contact with his lawyer, despite the lawyer’s requests to meet with his client. Relatives of other detainees told Amnesty International that they either could not afford a lawyer, or did not think it was worth the effort to hire one, as they had little hope that authorities would ever impose charges or take the detainee to court.”

Some detainees are held incommunicado, without any access to family members or the outside world, according to the human rights group.

Detainees of the National Security Service incude:

1. Alison Mogga Tadeo

2. Aloro John

3. Andria Baambe

4. Angelo Banaveso

5. Ayume Dada

6. Benjamin Taban

7. Chandiga Felix

8. Daniel Bakumba

9. Davide Peter

10. Eli Duku Nimaya

11. Emilio Paul

12. George Livio Bahara

13. Gwagbwe Christopher

14. John Mboliako

15. Jorem Eseru

16. Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro

17. Joseph Ngec

18. Justin Yasir

19. Justine Peter

20. Justine Wanawila

21. Kennedy Kenyi

22. Lado James

23. Leonzio Angole Onek

24. Lokolong Joseph

25. Loreom Joseph Logie

26. Martin Augustino

27. Michael Sokiri

28. Mike Tyson

29. Ochaya Godfrey Saverio

30. Ocitti Richard Okumu

31. Otihu Lawrence

32. Paul Baba

33. Richard Otti

34. Sokiri Felix Wani

35. Tartisio Oshini

File photo: Governor Joseph Bakosoro, detained in Juba