TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
RE: AFTABOSS INTERNET’IONAL CONDEMNS SOUTH SUDAN AUTHORITIES FOR MARKING HUMAN RIGHTS DAY WITH THE ARREST AND TORTURE OF A FACEBOOK BLOGGER
Today, December 10, 2013 is an International Human Rights Day, running on its 20th anniversary theme, 20 YEARS: WORKING FOR YOUR RIGHTS. However, this is not the case today with the nascent Republic of South Sudan, a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a member of the United Nations and other international and regional groupings. Today, as we are writing this petition, a newspaper editor and a Facebook blogger are behind doors, arrested on the same day.
With deep regret for the abuse of individual rights by the Government of South Sudan and with sincere solidarity for our free citizens and netizens, we, members of the Association of Facebookers, Tweeters and Bloggers of South Sudan (Aftaboss Internet’ional) hereby condemn the action taken by the legal authorities in Juba and Bor, Jonglei State, against their own laws.
Having said that, Joshua Chol Deng (‘Chol Joshua’ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chol.d.chol.1?fref=ts ) has spent the last few weeks in intense fear and pain. He is being switched between Bor and Juba by his county leaders; one a state minister in Jonglei and the other a chairperson of a commission in Juba, whom he criticized on Facebook for failing to protect his community from tribal massacres and other development challenges.
The comment he made could not be retrieved for this purpose after he was forced to delete it and write an official apology, which was in turn used as an evidence against him later. This morning, at 9 o’clock, Chol arrived from Bor and went straight to the police station where he is being kept there indefinitely. By the time Aftaboss Chief Moderator telephoned him, he had spent 7 hours without anybody visiting him, and may remain there for the night or so.
“In Bor prison, I spent 36 hours there serving the time of the big man, who is a minister in Jonglei. This morning the one in Juba ordered that I be brought here for his turn on me,” Chol said on phone while in his prison cell in Juba. His plight to merge the case to one place since it was an offence on one Facebook comment fell on death ears as he is being shared to serve justice between the two leaders in between the two cities.
While on his way from Juba to Bor two weeks ago, he said he was detained before reaching Bor and beaten up by soldiers, only to be released in the morning without charges except that he travelled late on an insecure road.
“To add salt on the injury the military guys detained us at 6:50 in Bangachorot not proceed to Bor in claims of insecurity in Jonglei. One of these military personnel had me caned with 30 lashes after we exchanged some unpleasantries, after which he interrogated me and found out that I was an Aulian,” Chol narrated on his Facebook status dated November 20, 2013 (See the post and others below).
AFTABOSS is hereby condemning the way our fellow blogger is being tormented both physically and psychologically without the right course of the law. Article 26 of the Interim Constitution of South Sudan entitles every citizens freedom of speech and expression, but this article is being violated by the way a Facebook comment is being handled against the life of a citizen who is doing his duties to the nation.
We again call upon the Minister for Justice and the relevant institutions of the Republic of South Sudan to intervene and release Joshua Chol Deng or give him speedier court process as soon as possible. It is not legally sound to subject an accused to double court case on the same offence. The offence was committed on Facebook, not in Jonglei or Juba, so he should be tried for this one offence (if any) in one location. The fact that the complainants are working in different locations does not warrant the accused to be ‘served’ to them at will in violation of the laws of this country.
Please, release Chol Deng or take him through one court procedure to avoid these leaders taking the law into their own hand and revenge on a person who has the constitutional right to criticize them as leaders over his community.
John Penn de Ngong,
To add salt on the injury the military guys detained us at 6:50 in Bangachorot not proceed to Bor in claims of insecurity in Jonglei.
One of these military personnel had me caned with 30 lashes after we exchanged some unpleasantries, after which he …interrogated and found out that I was an Aulian.
This guy is called Akech Manyok The interview was as follow.
Akech: You will not proceed a head because it is becoming dark.
We called one of the officers of National security and after that, Akech dismissed the whole conversation and asked us, “If you are killed on the way who will be responsible?”
Me: Akech, what you are saying is not right no one is responsible for our lives except God, this road is insecure starting all the way from Juba to here and even then if anything get us here who will be responsible”
Akech: ya Jesh, tali shilu zol de (meaning, soldiers, come and take this man away). I was marched to office and statement was recorded and after that Akech asked these questions: