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.
x
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.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs