24th June 2024
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Death row inmates at Juba prison seek President Kiir’s pardon

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Sunday, June 9, 2024

Death-row inmates at Juba Prison. (Photo/Michael Daniel).

Some inmates at Juba prison, convicted of murder and facing death sentences, have appealed directly to President Salva Kiir for pardon.

According to the director of Juba Central Prison, there are about 210 death row inmates in Juba prison.

This appeal highlights the dire circumstances of these individuals and brings attention to the broader issues of justice and the death penalty in the country.

Such appeals are typically grounded in humanitarian concerns and the hope for mercy, often citing factors such as wrongful conviction, rehabilitation, or extenuating personal circumstances.

In many countries, including South Sudan, the president holds the power to grant pardons or commute death sentences as part of executive clemency powers. This process allows for a reconsideration of cases

Several inmates, many of whom have been on death row since 2013, have expressed that their time in prison has positively influenced their behaviour and led to personal transformation.

They spoke about how their incarceration has given them a chance to reflect, change, and aspire to start anew.

John Lomuro, Peter Angeur, Jacob Oshan, and Jacob Juma Lako were sentenced to death in 2013 and have been on death row for 11 years,

“I hope God inspires us with the wisdom to convey to others the importance of respecting the law and avoiding crime,” said John Lomuro, a 40-year-old man on death row.

“The crimes committed make one expect death at any moment, and life in prison is complicated,” he said.

“Some individuals have even killed their spouses, leaving their children alone and abandoned. We implore our Lord, as well as the president, to pardon us,” he concluded.

Peter Guir, a 38-year-old man on death row said, “I was convicted in 2013, and sentenced to death. I admit I committed a mistake and served my sentences according to the law.”

He added, “We ask you to stand with us Therefore, I respectfully petition the President of the Republic to look into our case and pardon us.”

“I was sentenced to death in a military court in 2014. We are currently on hold by the president’s decision, and as you can see, we are just waiting for the execution to be carried out,” said Jacob Chan, a 35-year-old prison on death row.

“We learned from our mistakes and I do not think we will repeat these mistakes I am calling on the president to forgive us,” he said.

“I was sentenced to death in 2014. We want to urge the president for the general amnesty he granted in 2023,” Jacob Juma, a 30-year-old man told Eye Radio.

“We have been in prison for a long time and all we are asking for is that he pardon or reduce the punishment,” he said.

However, some women detailed the profound suffering they have endured under the death penalty.

they, requesting forgiveness and the opportunity to be reunited with their families.

Their appeals highlighted the human side of their difficulty, emphasizing the emotional and psychological toll of living under the constant threat of execution.

They implored the president to show mercy and compassion, hoping for a chance to reintegrate into society and mend their lives with their loved ones.

“I was sentenced to death four years ago. I appeal to you to send our voices to the officials to give us a second chance,” Adut Major said.

“Most of the women here are young and dream of having families and children. I currently do not have children and I beg the president to pardon us,” Adut said.

“I was in prison for 13 years after I killed my husband in a family dispute. Currently, I have three children and they are alone at home without a breadwinner repeat my colleague’s calls to pardon us,” Mary, a Ugandan national told Eye Radio.

“I was sentenced to death in 2016. I appeal to the president to pardon me and give us a second chance at life,” said Suzan Edoa, who is on death row in Uganda.

In February 2023, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan pardoned at least 71 inmates following a visit from His Holiness Pope Francis to the country.

Among those pardoned, 36 individuals were on death row, including four women convicted of various crimes.

The spokesperson of the South Sudan National Prison Service stated that Juba Central Prison currently houses 2,652 inmates serving various terms, with 221 of them on death row.

According to section 285. Of criminal procedures Power to Pardon. The President may remit the whole or part of the sentence and he or she may drop the conviction of any person for any offence. Suspension and Remittance

According to section 286. Power to Suspend or Remit Sentences. (1) When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the President, on the recommendation of the Minister, may at any time without conditions or upon any conditions, which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his or her sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he or she has been sentenced.

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