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JUBA - 27 Jun 2019

Lawyer appeals against Biar's conviction in Juba

Peter Biar Ajak arrives at the courtroom in Juba, March 21, 2019. REUTERS
Peter Biar Ajak arrives at the courtroom in Juba, March 21, 2019. REUTERS

Philip Anyang Ngong, the defense lawyer for prominent activist Peter Biar Ajak, has lodged an appeal against the high court after his client was jailed for two years.

Biar was sentenced along with businessman Kerbino Wol Agok and five others.

“An appeal was filed on Monday this week and of course it based on the reason that we deserve a right to appeal when the verdict was read out. Basically, it is a constitutional right,” Ngong told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday.

The defense lawyer earlier said Biar was charged under articles 48-80 of the South Sudan penal code, but maintained he is innocent of all the charges.

“Peter Biar’s conviction fell short of a lot of things. Basically, our appeal was based on the merits of Peter’s case, other than the decision the court warranted,” he explained.

The lawyer further said an appealed was filed based on the fact that during the trial, proper procedures were not followed and unfair decisions were made without necessarily looking at facts in the case.

“We felt the court never looked into the substance of the case,” he added.

On June 11, the high court sentenced Biar on charges of inciting violence and disturbing the peace over interviews he gave to the media during a stand-off between inmates and guards at the National Security Service (NSS) headquarters on October 7, 2018.

Biar and Kerbino were initially arrested by national security service (NSS) officials in 2018 for different reasons.