News / Africa

South Sudan Politician Declares Innocence in Alleged Coup Plot

Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum (second from left) testified in his own defense in a court in Juba on Friday, April 11.
Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum (second from left) testified in his own defense in a court in Juba on Friday, April 11.
Philip Aleu
One of four South Sudanese politicians who were detained in December and accused of being part of an alleged plot to oust President Salva Kiir testified that he had nothing to do with the fighting that broke out in Juba and spread to the rest of the country.

Pagan Amum, the former secretary general of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, told the panel of judges in a special court in Juba that he did not even know that fighting had broken out on December 15 and was surprised to be picked up from his home two days later by security officials.
 
During four hours on the witness stand, Amum said he believed the main piece of evidence against him was that he participated in a news conference with former vice president Riek Machar several days before the violence erupted. Machar has been accused of master-minding the alleged coup attempt.

Many speakers at the early December news conference publicly criticized Kiir’s handling of the SPLM, but Amum said the only time he opened his mouth at the event was to sing the national anthem.
 
Defense lawyer Kur Lual Kur said he expects the five judges overseeing the hearings of Amum and three others --  former national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak, former liaison officer for the southern Sudan mission in Washington Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and former deputy defense minister Majok D’Agot Atem -- will find that the accused had nothing to do with the alleged coup on Dec. 15..
 
“These charges are not true and any accusations must be in accordance with the law," Kur said.
 
Ajak testified on Tuesday  that he, too, had nothing to do with the violent events that rocked Juba on Dec. 15 before spreading around the country.

The hearings recessed for the weekend and are due to resume on Tuesday, when the prosecution will be able to cross-examine Amum and Ajak.
 
Lawyers for the prosecution refused to comment on Friday's hearing.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Aguer-Wukok from: Adelaide
April 14, 2014 6:35 AM
Very strange indeed!. Why are all the accused from Greater Upper-Nile? What about those who were from Bhar El Ghazal who were with them during the SPLM meeting? why are they not in that Court? or are Bhar El Ghazalians immune for treason? Yes, Upper-Niles are being targeted, especially the intellectuals, such that they cannot rule; otherwise there is no other explanation why those Bhar El Ghazalians were excluded. The SPLM Party is full with them, even they were in meeting on 6th December 2013.

by: Nyakhor from: Omaha
April 13, 2014 2:09 AM
Mr.Elkan your fooling yourself if your truly believe those men aren't innocent. What evidence do you have proving that they are in fact guilty?

by: Elijah B. Elkan from: NM-USA
April 12, 2014 2:50 PM
Since Machar and company were removed from their position, they became bitter enemy of the government. Well, they can denied everything now, but the words have consequences. The 7 plus 4 should must not be allow to get of that easy.
In Response

by: pittiro from: tn-usa
April 13, 2014 3:31 PM
Yes indeed MR ELIJAH, the phrases by so-called disgruntled group by RIEK MACHAR to mean 'splm has given ultimatum or resort of' has it all. Those 4 plus 7 others are with machar and I lost confident on them although such as majak are my uncle.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs