Skip to main content
JUBA - 18 Feb 2018

Rebels warn executing James Gatdet will affect reconciliation efforts

File photo: James Gatdet Dak
File photo: James Gatdet Dak

A diaspora group affiliated to South Sudan’s main rebel movement led by the country’s former first vice president Riek Machar has warned against executing the death sentence handed down on James Gadet.

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

Members of the diaspora wing based in the United States of America said in a statement dated 15 February that the sentence will affect the reconciliation efforts, which they said would take clock back 100 years for the world’s youngest nation to come together and heal from such actions.

Isaac Gang, the head of the SPLM-IO rebel group in the United States said that the sentencing of Gatdet Dak was a wrong move.

The group called on the international community to think twice and not treat the issue like the abduction of the two of their colleagues in neighboring Kenya without significant attention and pressure on the two countries from the international community.

“In fact, if the death penalty were to be carried out – God forbids, we would like to inform the world that it will set the clock of reconciliation and healing back by no less than 100 years," said the statement.

The group pointed out that the  sentence does not only violate the cessation of hostilities agreement but puts a permanent dent on the process moving forward and will make any prospect of reconciliation among our people impossible.

Separately, the SPLM-IO Youth League said it was “angered" by the death sentence against James Gatdet Dak,

The youth wing said in a statement that Gatdet’s trial in Juba was unfair, cruel and against human rights. The group stressed that James Gatdet Dak’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately.