Police: ‘Prophet’ Abraham Chol resists mental health evaluation before trial
The spokesperson of the National Police Service, Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin has said the outspoken and controversial self-styled ‘Prophet’ Abraham Chol’s arraignment in court has been delayed because the churchman resisted doctors who were to evaluate his mental status.
A psychological evaluation, which is also sometimes called a mental health evaluation, is a series of tests, interviews, and evaluations done by professionals to determine a person’s state of mind. The process is long, involving numerous psychological and psychiatric tests. Ideally, one goal of a psychological evaluation is to figure out whether or not someone is mentally competent to stand trial. If they are not, it wouldn’t be fair to hold them criminally responsible for their actions, and sentencing them to jail or prison wouldn’t be helpful or appropriate.
“Abraham Chol is still under interrogation and the case has not been forwarded to the court because we wanted to look into his mental status. He has been presented to the Medical Commission so that they can certify his mental status before he could be taken to the court,” Gen. Justin explained. “He resisted the doctors at the hospital when he was supposed to be examined. And after that, we will also hear from the office of the public prosecutor about which procedures should be taken against him.”
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, the police spokesman said Abraham Chol is charged with over five charges but the main one is instigation.
“He instigated the public and there was panic and fear among citizens on 9 July. Because he announced earlier that on 9 July, there is going to be a change in the leadership of the country including the president and his first vice president. This statement had gone viral over social media and when we asked him, he said yes, he was told by God to announce this,” Gen Justin said.
He said the self-styled prophet will be tried in the normal court of the judiciary.
“Our role as police and the persecutor is to investigate the suspect and when the charges are proved on him, we now refer the case to the civil court. And we don’t care which judge will be presiding over the case,” the police mouthpiece said.
Asked why the police broke into his home and arrested Chol at night, Gen. Justin said, “Yes. Our (Police) Act grants us that right. Our police first arrived at the gate and knocked on the gate and it was open to us. We said we wanted so and so, but he refused to come out. We then went to his door and knocked but he refused to open it but was asking ‘who are you?’ We arrested him per the law. We did not break into his door but we knocked and entered his house as many have seen in the video that went viral. So his arrest was carried out in a normal procedure. But sometimes police are forced to use force in case the person resisted the order of the police.”
Gen. Justin said the police cannot speculate on when the trial will commence and that it is a matter for the court.
“Sometime during the interrogation, and when there is not enough evidence, the prosecutor can dismiss the charges against the person. So at the moment, we can’t predict when he will be referred to the court but our focus is to interrogate him to find out if the charges put against him can be prosecuted by the law after that he can be taken to the court,” Gen. Justin said.
The police spokesman said Abraham Chol is remanded at the Juba Central Prison momentarily.
“No. He is in Juba Central Prison. We can’t allow a person to stay in police custody for more than 24 hours. But the persecutor can extend it to 3 days. But if the interrogation takes more than this, you will be referred to the prison under the waiting list,” Gen. Justin concluded.