16 Jan 2019

 

South Sudan Denies Execution Of Prisoners Report

The Government of South Sudan has denied a report by Amnesty International detailing execution of prisoners on death row.

South Sudan Denies Execution Of Prisoners Report
Ateny Wek Ateny the Presidential Press Secretary [Gurtong file photo]

By Ojwe Lumara

JUBA, 08 December 2018 [Gurtong]-The Amnesty International report released Friday accused the government of carrying out executions of seven prisoners including a child in 2018.

Amnesty International said it also fears for the lives of another 135 people on death row, who have this year been rounded up from other prisons across the country Juba Central prison and Wau Prison-two prisons notorious for executions.

 “It is extremely disturbing that the world’s youngest nation has embraced this outdated, inhuman practice and is executing people, even children, at a time when the rest of the world is abandoning this abhorrent punishment,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The President of South Sudan must stop signing execution orders and end this obvious violation of the right to life.”

However, Ateny Wek Ateny the Presidential Press Secretary denied the report, saying South Sudan has not executed any prisoner since independence.

“Since 2011, South Sudan has not executed any sentenced prisoner simply because we are signatory to the Charters that prohibit death penalty. I don’t know where Amnesty International got this information,” he said.  “There is no execution because we have put a postponement of the death penalty.”

Mr. Ateny added that President Salva Kiir did not sign any order to allow the law enforcement agencies to execute any sentenced prisoner.

“Even if the execution was to be done at the level of those who have committed murder, a child cannot be executed in South Sudan. Even the culture of South Sudan cannot accept it,” Ateny argued.

He said despite the death penalty still being part of the country’s constitution, “we have put a postponement of any execution of people on death row.”

He also denied that prisoners on death row are being transferred to Juba central prison and Wau Prison where the alleged executions happen.

Mr Ateny added that the capacity of Juba central prison is full and that transfer of prisoners to other less populated prisons is a routine administrative work.

“It is a routine transfer because the prison like Juba is full. It was meant for only 1,500 inmates, it now has more than 15,000. You cannot put them in packed prison like that and you cannot release those who have committed crimes,” he added.

The South Sudan  Penal Code provides for the use of the death penalty for murder; bearing false witness resulting in an innocent person’s execution or for fabricating such evidence or using as true evidence known to be false; terrorism (or banditry, insurgency or sabotage) resulting in death; aggravated drug trafficking; and treason.


 

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