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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora