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JUBA - 18 Jan 2018

Defense lawyers withdraw from Gatdet's case in protest

The defense team for rebel leader Riek Machar’s former spokesperson announced today that they have withdrawn from the case, saying they are no longer representing him in protest of what they termed “unfair trial.”

James Gatdet Dak is facing charges of treason and other serious charges in Juba. He was deported to Juba by Kenyan authorities in November 2016.

Monyluak Alor Kuol, who has served as lead defense lawyer, told Radio Tamazuj that he filed a notice today that he has withdrawn as Gatdet’s defense lawyer.

The senior lawyer said they decided to leave in protest against the trial process. “We knew that the charges levelled against James were purely political crimes and offences against the state. We have a problem with the procedures followed by the prosecution,” he said.

“We said James is a political detainee. People know that Article 8 of the signed ceasefire agreement says all political detainees should be released, but the prosecution decided to go ahead with the trial of James Gatdet,” he said.

Alor accused the prosecution and the ministry of justice of ignoring the provisions of the cessation of hostilities agreement.” We want the world to know the issue. The agreement is being monitored, so the monitors will look into it. The problem is not the court,” he said.