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South Sudan: Quash death sentence for former opposition spokesman

    February 13, 2018

    Commenting on reports that James Gatdet Dak, the former spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO), has been sentenced to death for treason, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “Gatdet’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately. The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.

    “Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month. In any case, the death penalty has no place in the modern era. Instead of sentencing people to death, the South Sudanese government should immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this cruel and inhuman penalty, as have 105 other countries around the globe.”

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

    Background

    Gatdet was unlawfully transferred from Kenya to South Sudan in November 2016. He spent over seven months in solitary confinement before finally being charged with abetment, treason, publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to South Sudan, and undermining the authority of or insulting the President.

    The court ruled on 12 February that he had been found guilty.