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JUBA - 26 Mar 2021

Lawyer demands trial of detained Wau musician

A South Sudanese human rights defender is demanding that detained musician Larson Angok be presented before a court of law for trial or released.

Last week, police in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal State detained the popular singer in what was seen as an arrest over a controversial Facebook post or his recently produced songs. 

According to the state chairperson of the artists’ union Garang Dut, Larson was arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Wau, saying he was wanted for questioning. 

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, lawyer Philip Anyang, a human rights defender said it is against the law to hold someone for more than 24 hours and called on those holding him to urgently produce him before a court of law.

“There is no reason why someone can be detained for more than 24 hours without being produced before the court of law. If there is sufficient reason for further investigations, there are orders that are sought from the investigation officer through the order of the public attorney. The arrest of Larson Angok for the last four or five days has sparked a lot of chaos from many concerned South Sudanese and it’s a question of law," Anyang said. "So the question that can be sought now is where is he being held, who is holding him, who is the complainant and why is he being arrested so these are things that have not been understood by the public.” 

Anyang added that further detention is illegal and a violation of his rights. 

“The more he is being kept there you are violating his right, freedom of expression, and the right to liberty. No one can be kept there and we are not being told why he is being kept, he should be kept as the law provides,” Anyang pointed out.

Martin Mayep, a close relative to Larson Angok reiterated that they do not know why their kin is in detention.

He said they are concerned about his health condition since they have not had access to him. 

However, South Sudan Police spokesperson Daniel Justin confirmed that Larson is in their custody and court proceedings will soon begin. 

“We finished the investigation but the decision has not yet been made. He is a police officer with an assistant rank. We are the ones who arrested him; he is under our custody. He was arrested for the mistake he made. The investigation is finished but we are waiting for the investigator to raise the issue to his commodore and he will tell me the charges. Then they will inform me of the result," he noted.

Justin did not reveal the charges leveled against the musician.