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South Sudan: Death sentence for former opposition spokesman 'must be quashed'

Commenting on reports that James Gatdet Dak, the former spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition, has been sentenced to death for treason, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s East Africa Deputy Regional Director, said:

“Gatdet’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately. Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month.

“Instead of sentencing people to death, the South Sudanese government should immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this cruel and inhuman penalty, as have 105 other countries around the globe.

“The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.”

Transferred from Kenya

Gatdet was unlawfully transferred from Kenya to South Sudan in November 2016. He spent more than seven months in solitary confinement before finally being charged with abetment, treason, publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to South Sudan, and undermining the authority of or insulting the president. Yesterday, the court ruled he had been found guilty.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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