Rights group demands immediate release of 52 political prisoners
National Civil Rights Alliance (NCRA), a human rights group is demanding for the “immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners” believed to be detained by authorities in the country.
The human rights alliance in a press release seen by Juba Monitor said up to 52 people, including four Kenyans and a South African, are believed to be under detention by the authorities. Amongst notable South Sudanese is James Gatdet, and Dong Samuel Luak, who were deported by Kenyan authorities earlier this year.
This comes close to a month when President Salva Kiir said he has directed his Prosecutor General to review cases of people who might have committed crimes against the state so that they can be released.
“We are dismayed that no credible action has been taken in regards to the release the well-known political prisoners or detainees in the country,” said the press statement issued on Sunday. “NCRA expressed outrage on the slow pace by the government’s concern institutions to translate the President’s words into credible action in order to build and consolidate public confidence around this noble initiative of the National dialogue.”
It said the inaction will raise questions of who is in charge of government policies when state officials show “intransigence and reluctance to implement his Excellency the President’s directives?”
“Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners will go a long way in supplementing the National dialogue,” said Dong Mel President National Civil Rights Alliance. “We expect the Sub-Committees to be visiting their respective states and this issue is expected to be a stumbling block for their conducive engagement with citizens in all the states.”
On Thursday last week, during a press briefing by the national dialogue committee, Alfred Taban, the head of the communications said the national dialogue steering committee discussed the issue of political detainees.
“We may have to visit some of the detention centers and see if there are some political detainees still in prison,” said Taban. “We are serious that steps must be taken to make the environment conducive for holding the national dialogue, one of those is the release of the political detainees including journalists.
NCRA also calls on the public to report any citizen that was arrested by any organized forces.
Efforts to reach presidential spokesman for comments were not fruitful by press time.
By Jale Richard