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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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