National News

Rights defenders decry execution of two teenagers

The National Civil Rights Alliance, a group of human rights defenders said it was dismayed by the execution of two young brothers at the country’s central prison.

Orenga Tom Gore and his younger brother Ayela Philip Gore, who were below 18 years old were sentenced to death on the 27th June, 2017 at the Juba Central prison over alleged murder of their uncle, according to the human rights defenders.

“The two brothers were brought from Torit, Imotong state after they were convicted of murder in 2015. They were said to have killed their uncle for having sexual intercourse with their sister”.

According to the National Civil Alliance, the two brothers were smuggled out of Torit a week ago and nobody knew where they were until tempers nearly ran out of hand and the families were told they have been taken to Juba for their appeal hearing, only to learn that “they have been executed”.

The National Civil Rights Alliance is dismayed that the government is still retaining the use of the death penalty which runs counter to global move and commitment to end the use of capital punishment if these allegations are true,” the statement reads in part.

“We urge the government to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to reviewing the country’s position and moving towards abolition. We are also greatly concerned by the government’s use of the death penalty on persons below the age of 18 in contravention of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan and the UN safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing death penalty,” the statement reads.

They stressed that the death penalty should be imposed only for the most serious crimes, and that a death sentence should not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below 18 years or carried out on pregnant or lactating women, or persons who have become insane.

The body said they are concerned about violations of fair trial standards in the country’s judicial system, particularly the right of accused persons to legal assistance, and leaving many unable to adequately prepare their defense or to appeal convictions, the statement added.

The Alliance supplementary said it is important for the government to increase public information and transparency about its use of the death penalty when the country is talking about reconciliation and healing.

The group said that practical steps towards this end must include, releasing figures about the number of executions carried out so far, the number of people on death row in the country, providing notification when executions are set to occur; and making publicly available all judicial decisions regarding death sentences and decisions by the President to confirm or commute death sentences.

That accessibility of such information is of particular importance in facilitating informed discussion about substantive constitutional provisions such as the right to life and the use of the death penalty on under aged minors.

The National Civil Rights Alliance called on the President to immediately adhere to the United Nations Resolution 71/187 on Moratorium on the use of the death penalty adopted by the General Assembly on the19th December, 2016, which it said will remain actively seized of the matter, the statement reads.

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