South Sudan: National Security Service must immediately release arbitrarily detained dissident


South Sudan: National Security Service must immediately release arbitrarily detained dissident

12 Jun 2024

Authorities in South Sudan must comply with the directive by the country’s Minister of Justice by immediately releasing government critic Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, who has been held in arbitrary detention for more than 400 days, said Amnesty International. After being arbitrarily arrested in Kenya on 4 February 2023, Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak was forcibly returned to South Sudan the following day, where he has been held at the Blue House, the National Security Service’s (NSS) headquarters, in Juba. In April 2024, he was charged with defamation against the Director General of the NSS, Akol Koor Kuc. Despite being granted bail that month over the defamation case, the NSS continue to detain him under the pretext of investigating him for committing crimes against the state. On 10 June, Minister of Justice Ruben Madol Arol directed that Morris Mabior be released and quashed the charge of ‘insulting the president and undermining the authority of the head of state.’ Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak was held in incommunicado detention for at least three months following his arrest, where, according to family members, he was subjected to solitary confinement and torture and other ill-treatment. “Amnesty International welcomes the Justice Minister’s decision to quash the baseless charges against Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak. It is a travesty that he has been unlawfully detained for more than a year and denied routine visits by family members, as well as access to medical attention,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
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