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Over 300 juvenile inmates in Juba Prison lack legal aid – Official

Author: Madrama James | Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sabri Wani Ladu, the Director of Central Equatoria’s Legal Department speaking during a Consultative meeting in Juba on Dec. 13, 2023 - Credit: Madrama James/Eye Radio

The Director of Central Equatoria’s Legal Department has revealed that over 300 juvenile inmates have not been provided legal aid to face trial.

Sabri Wani Ladu made remarks during a Consultative Meeting under the theme “Support to Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights Strengthening in South Sudan.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Legal Aid in Juba.

The juveniles are among 2,815 including 75 foreign inmates currently in the prison.

According to Sabri Wani Ladu, he observed that 301 juvenile inmates are under trial.

But they have hardly been provided legal aid and even applications for their consideration.

He warns the number could or may have increased due to delay in the trial process as the statistic was by November 2022.

“Based on the statistic, we came to know that, there’s like 2,815, these are inmates and when you classify the number of inmates you may find, that national inmates are like 2,743,” said Wani.

“Other nationals are 209, so there are a lot of foreigners also under the national prison. So, our concern is that there’s an increase in many inmates,” he said.

“Under the jurisdiction of juveniles, inmates should be provided legal aid. And what we have observed is, there’s no legal aid for the juvenile inmates. And there are no applications or considerations.

“For example, if you see, 301 [juvenile] under trial process. This is in 2022. And this number now has increased. Some of them are now been convicted, and some are still under trial. And there’s a delay in the trial process.”

The Legal official has suggested that a law be enacted for the establishment of a legal aid directorate to address the challenge.

“In my opinion, after the policy, should have a bill and laws for legal aid like any other country in place,” said Wani.

“I am proposing the establishment of a legal aid directorate as a specialized directorate, not under one directorate with another component,” he said.

“I am proposing that regulations be issued to define number one, what legal aid. And types of legal aid that can be offered by the government. Also to define situations where legal aid cannot be offered. How to come up with fees and procedures.”

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