Magai Matiop Ngong is Free! South Sudan High Court releases man who was sentenced to death when he was a child

Magai Matiop Ngong was released from prison on March 22, 2022 after a decision by the High Court in Eastern Equatoria State in southern South Sudan.

Magai was a 15-year-old secondary student when he was sentenced to death by hanging on November 14, 2017 after being convicted of a murder that he claims was an accident. He spent two years and eight months on death rows, more than two years of that when he was still a child.

The sentencing and Magai’s presence on death row when he was still a child constituted a clear violation of South Sudan’s obligations under South Sudanese law and international human rights law.

Magai Matiop Ngong was featured in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign in 2019. More than 765,000 people, including thousands of people in Canada, took action and wrote to the South Sudanese government expressing solidarity with Magai. The South Sudan Court of Appeal eventually quashed the death sentence imposed on Magai because he was a child at the time of the crime, and sent his case back to the High Court to rule on an appropriate sentence.

Read the full public statement here.