News / Africa

South Sudan Political Detainees' Treason Trial Begins

From left to right, former Security Minister Oyay Deng Ajak, former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech, former Deputy Defense Minister Majok D'Agot Atem, and former envoy of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan government to the U.S., Ezekiel Lol Gatk
From left to right, former Security Minister Oyay Deng Ajak, former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech, former Deputy Defense Minister Majok D'Agot Atem, and former envoy of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan government to the U.S., Ezekiel Lol Gatk
Charlton Doki
— The treason trial began Tuesday in Juba of four political detainees accused of attempting to overthrow the government in mid-December.

Heavily armed soldiers and police were deployed inside and outside the packed courthouse in Juba where the trial got under way.

Dressed in suits, the four -- former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech, former Security Minister Oyay Deng Ajak, former Deputy Defense Minister Majok D'Agot Atem, and former envoy of the semi autonomous Southern Sudan government to the US, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth -- looked calm as the prosecution outlined the case against them.

The four were among 11 political figures who were taken into custody shortly after fighting erupted in Juba on Dec. 15, in what President Salva Kiir has said was a failed bid to oust him, led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.

James Mayen, the lead prosecutor in the case, told the court he has enough evidence to prove the suspects attempted to overthrow the government. 

In addition to treason, the four are accused of inciting the masses, subverting a constitutional government, insurgency, causing disaffection among the police and the army, publishing or communicating false information and undermining the authority of or insulting the president.

Reporters were allowed in to the packed courtroom in the morning when the treason trial of four South Sudan political detainees began on March 11, 2014, but not in the afternoon.Reporters were allowed in to the packed courtroom in the morning when the treason trial of four South Sudan political detainees began on March 11, 2014, but not in the afternoon.
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Reporters were allowed in to the packed courtroom in the morning when the treason trial of four South Sudan political detainees began on March 11, 2014, but not in the afternoon.
Reporters were allowed in to the packed courtroom in the morning when the treason trial of four South Sudan political detainees began on March 11, 2014, but not in the afternoon.
Mayen cited as a key piece of evidence to indicate treason had been committed a press release that Machar issued days before violence erupted in Juba in mid-December.

In the release, Machar and other political figures accused Kiir of having dictatorial tendencies and of making decisions without consulting other SPLM officials.

Mayen said he also has an audio recording of a conversation between the suspects on the night violence broke out in Juba, which showed that Machar had ordered soldiers to break into the armory and take back the guns that they had been ordered to hand over.

Mayen said Machar, Taban Deng Gai -- who is the lead negotiator for the anti-government side at peace talks in Addis Ababa -- and Alfred Ladu Gore will be tried when they are apprehended. All three either went into hiding or left South Sudan when the trouble erupted.

Mayen requested that the hearing be closed to the public, citing the sensitivity of the case.

While the morning session was open to journalists, security personnel barred reporters from entering the courtroom during the afternoon session.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sam dave from: USA
March 12, 2014 10:14 PM
My S. Sudan President, my advice to you, i
s that be wise man, otherwise your own dawn country will fall down badly on your watch. I know too much advice, poor judgment, and etc can cause more problems than your poorly politic's crisis on Dec. 15, 2013. On the behalf of the four detainees, released them like the seven detainees that you did send them to Kenya and now they have been taking part in peace process as third party in Addis Ababa.


by: Jacob Gore Samuel from: Juba
March 12, 2014 11:38 AM
If Machar really is talking about development in South Sudan and good governance many years he had been a vice president for 9 years why don't him correct the president before the time. But because he has been taken away from position than started to miss lead the world . What is doing is not commendable us people's of South Sudan our people are in bad conditions because only he want position he will never and ever meet this position instead for he waited right he rush. Yourself is enemy for locking yourself out of the seniority in SPLM party


by: Gatbel pal from: Ethiopia
March 12, 2014 11:21 AM
This 4 detainee made nothing..i think IGAD,AU,and international community made s.sudan as a trade zone why b/c since dec upto now there is no any solution and they let kiir to restore power to kill detainee,daimeed kiir will died soon....


by: Strir from: U .S.A
March 12, 2014 1:22 AM
I think the world should stop the cowboy president from oppressong his people.


by: Deng Koang from: Sewarf
March 12, 2014 12:26 AM
Those people are innecent and they should not be charged with any criminal act. I think did not have any valid reason to trial those individuals ,because know in the world there was no coup, but why the government insist of coup.


by: Justin dm from: Canada
March 11, 2014 4:15 PM
How one would ever know if these folks are guilty or not. Lets not put our wn judgments in this case.

In Response

by: big mouth from: usa
March 19, 2014 4:36 PM
open your eyes so big my friend, we are in different world now than our world before


by: Santino Andrew Bouth from: Addis Ababa_Ethiopia
March 11, 2014 3:42 PM
Those guys are being arest and put them in jail for no reason, just Mr Kiir gov't it feiled to manage this new country, we need him to step down soonly before too late and before no more death! There was no coup in Juba, Kiir want to kill those politician without reason.


by: bang from: USA
March 11, 2014 2:37 PM
These guys are being jailed for false cuop. They didn't done any wrong things.

In Response

by: by central nuer from: Akobo
March 11, 2014 5:34 PM
As we know false it does let us to be purely truly Africa .let you know coup has already attempt by dictatorial mayadit

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