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JUBA - 13 Feb 2018

Gatdet’s death sentence must be quashed, Amnesty International says

Photo: James Gatdet Dak
Photo: James Gatdet Dak

James Gatdet Dak’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately, Amnesty International said.

Gatdet Dak, the former official spokesman of South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar was sentenced to death by hanging for treason in Juba on Monday, a year after he was deported from Kenya.

The watchdog group said today that the death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.

The rights group further said Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month.

“In any case, the death penalty has no place in the modern era. 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,” Amnesty International said.

The organization stressed that it 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, “according to the watchdog group.

Gatdet was deported from Kenya to Juba in November 2016. He spent over 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.

The court ruled on 12 February that Gatdet had been found guilty.