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Amnesty international: Juba executed seven prisoners in February

Authors: Emmanuel Akile | | Published: Friday, March 1, 2019

Martin Amar Deng is one of those executed in Juba in February 2019 | Credit | Manyual Marou/Facebook

A human rights advocacy group says the government of South Sudan executed at least seven people in February alone. Three of the deceased were from the same family.

Amnesty international says this is as many as those who were executed in the whole of 2018 and represents a shocking spike in the use of the death penalty in the country.

In December 2018, the human rights group raised alarm that South Sudan executed in that year more people than in any other year since its independence in 2011.

The Amnesty international deputy director for east Africa, Seif Magango says this proves that the government has absolutely no respect for the right to life as it continues to totally disregard the fact that the world is moving away from use of the death penalty.

“We are shocked and dismayed that executions have become the order of the day in South Sudan,” Magango said.

“Rather than execute people, the authorities should rehabilitate prisoners and make them well-adjusted individuals that can contribute positively to society.”

According to the watchdog, executions in 2018 followed the transfer of at least 135 death row prisoners from county and state prisons to Wau central prison and Juba central prison, which are equipped with gallows to carry out executions.

It said six of this year’s victims were executed in Juba Central Prison; while at least one was executed in Wau Central prison. All the victims were men.

“These reports are extremely concerning, and we cannot even begin to imagine how the families must be feeling,” he stressed.

“South Sudan must immediately commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment, establish an official moratorium on executions and take steps, without delay, to abolish the death penalty.”

Amnesty International has also established that at least three of the executions undertaken last month were done in secrecy; the family of the three related men was not informed of their impending execution and only learnt of the death of their loved ones after they had been executed.

The penal code of South Sudan allows for the use of the death penalty for bearing false witness resulting in an innocent person’s execution, terrorism or banditry, insurgency or sabotage resulting in death, aggravated drug trafficking and treason.

However, President Salva Kiir has imposed an indefinite moratorium on death sentences.

Martin Amar Deng  was one of the over seven people executed on February 10, 2019. He has been on death row for 9 years.

The government is yet to comment on the matter.

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