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WAU - 17 Apr 2013

Wau detainees lift hunger strike as case referred to court

The defence lawyer for the defendants from the Wau clashes last December, Kur Lual Kur, announced yesterday that the detainees lifted their hunger strike.

Kur attributed the decision to lift the strike to the referral of the defendants’ files to court, in order for their trial to begin in the next few days.

The 23 detainees went on a hunger strike after being held for months without either court hearings or legal proceedings taken against them. 

However, while they were told on Friday that all cases would be referred to the court, the court has only received one so far.

“On last Friday the head of legal administration made a press conference and noted that all cases will be referred to the court but we were surprised yesterday when we waited all day until 3 - 3.30PM and only one case reached the court -only the case of those who were on strike. So maybe today or tomorrow the date of the court session will be confirmed,” Kur commented.

Accused of inciting violence in Wau last December which resulted in at least 12 deaths, the group of 23 includes police and former political officials.

Meanwhile, the Western Bahr el-Ghazal state minister for information and culture, Darik Alfred, announced the opening of the first cultural festival in the capital,Wau.

Alfred acknowledged that, the aim of the festival was to educate people about the arts and their importance in people’s lives.  Participating in the festival are poets and artists from both inside and outside the state.

Observers in the state have commented that this may play a significant role in trying to reconcile the communities of Western Bahr el–Ghazal state following the clashes last year.

Related: Wau detainees: 4th day of hunger strike in call for due process (11 April 2013)