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Foreign missions call for release of Peter Biar

Political activist Peter Biar speaking during a talk show on Kenyan NTV | photo | NTV

Nine heads of foreign mission have echoed calls on the authorities to charge or release political activist Peter Biar Ajak.

Peter Biar was arrested more than a week ago at the Juba International Airport  while traveling to Aweil to attend a function organized by the Red Army.

According to his wife Nyathon James, Biar is currently under detention at the National Security facility in Jebel.

In a joint statement, the ambassadors of Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America say they are deeply troubled by the arrest and ongoing detention.

“We are deeply concerned by the harassment and intimidation of civic actors; restrictions on freedom of expression and association; and arbitrary detention in South Sudan,” the statement read.

The statement also said that the heads of mission are deeply concerned by the harassment and intimidation of civic actors; restrictions on freedom of expression and association; and arbitrary detention in South Sudan.

This, it added, is of great concern in the context of the ongoing peace process, as building trust and maintaining a vibrant civic space is an essential prerequisite of sustainable peace:

“We called on the government to either release Peter Biar Ajak, or to bring charges against him in a timely manner in accordance with the rule of law and to grant him access to a lawyer.”

Meanwhile President Salva Kiir on Sunday said during the signing ceremony in Khartoum that all South Sudanese should live to freely express their views:

“Nobody should hear arbitrary arrests or any form of security threat. The agreement set forth a foundation for democracy and a level for political ground for all South Sudanese to freely express their views without fear. We are to commit to this in letter and in spirit.”

The Constitution of South Sudan guarantees all South Sudanese people liberty and security of person, due process, and freedom of expression and association.

The heads of mission called on the government and all parties to the conflict to “encourage, support and safeguard the right of any individual to freedom of opinion and expression”.