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The High Court has sentenced businessman Kerubino Wol Agok to 13 years, and a political activist Peter Biar Ajak to two years imprisonment.
Kerubino was sentenced to 10 years, for violating section 67, 72, 79 and 47 of the penal code of 2008.
He was also sentenced to two years for violating section 80/2/b of the penal code 2008, and another one year for violating section 57 of the national security act 2014.
Biar was sentenced to 2 years for violating section 48/80, 2, b of the panel code of 2008.
The two are among six people who were sentenced in Juba on Tuesday morning.
They are charged with possession of firearms and sabotage among others.
Other co-accused were given five years each.
All the sentences have been backdated to the day each person was detained.
The other four were all sentenced to five-year imprisonment; they include, Dau Guer, Benjamin Gany, James Bol Akech and Simon Dau.
This came after their alleged attempted prison break at the blue house in October last year.
Detained in July last year, Peter Biar was critical of the government, especially during the peace process.
He once called on the leaders to hand over leadership to young South Sudanese on Kenyan television NTV – where he was a regular panelist.
On the other hand, Businessman Kerbino Wol – who is said to be a captain in the national security service – had been at the blue house since April 2018.
They are sentenced for charges of violating some sections of the penal code and national security act of 2013.
Ajak Mayol, the lead defense lawyer of Kerubino Wol criticized the verdict of the high court, saying it is against the constitution.
“I have a lot of procedural issues that never went well, including the detention of the same people in the national security facility which is ungazetted and which we brought to the knowledge of the court and they refused to act the same. They are going to be taken to prison.”
“I don’t see any fairness in the trial that has happened, if you look at the final submission of the prosecution it was just a paper with the only dotted line, there was nothing, it shows there was no fairness,” he added.
Ajak said that one of his clients, Kerubino Wol Agok will service the longest prison term.
“All my clients, the charges that they brought against them have been confirmed by the court and they found them guilty, they passed them different sentences. The longest is 13 years to Kerbino Wol Agok.”
Philip Anyang, one of the advocates representing Peter Biar said the charges focus on public disturbance and violence.
“It is a controversial decision because the court deviated from the principle of law. Peter was expressing himself in the first instance because he is being charged for speaking on VOA and if that’s the case, then the right to freedom of expression under the constitution is on trial here.”
Biar’s lawyer said he will appeal the conviction and sentence immediately. Kerubino’s legal team has indicated they will appeal as well.
“The decision has come out, we deserve our right to appeal in the next 15 days, which principally what we are going for,” Biar’s lawyer has said.
“We have a room for appeal and of which as I speak with you, they today accepted my appeals, I would have tendered it as of today,” added Kerubino’s lawyer.
Reacting to the verdict, the wife to Peter Biar – Nyathon Hoth Mai said the sentence is better than nothing, saying she was expecting the worse.
“We were expecting worse, and I think to me I wouldn’t say it is fair but it is better than nothing than when they are inside there.”
“It is very unfortunate, somebody like Kerubino and the rest of the guys, these are people with families and I have seen what their families have been going through and for them to go through that long period of time is heartbreaking, and being a young family and see what their families are going through is very difficult,” she added.
The case was heard by three judges presided by Justice Sumeya Mohamed
The other two judges are John Yel and George Kulang.
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Published Saturday, March 25, 2023
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