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Maura Ajak-CRN
Monday, October 8, 2018 - 15:56
Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes asks South Sudan authorities to urgently de-escalate the situation at the 'notorious Blue House detention facility', where prolonged incommunicado detention, torture and deaths in custody are rife.
 
Sarah Jackson reacting to the sunday incident says “Independent observers should be able to monitor any action by authorities to help prevent the use of excessive force or other human rights violations. Any use of force must be a last resort and in strict compliance with international law. The right to life and personal security of everyone, including prison guards and bystanders, must be respected.
 
“The Blue House revolt points to deep problems within South Sudan’s justice system. President Salva Kiir should keep his promise to release detainees unless they are charged with a recognizable criminal offence. Concerted action is needed to improve the dire conditions in detention.” she says.
 
In a press briefing on Sunday South Sudan's Police Spokesman says, the confrontation between the national security and the detainees is an administrative case with no political nature. The standoff lasted for several hours before it was resolved.
 
General Daniel Justin Boulogne says, the case will be investigated according to the law and they will determine under which article they will charge Captain Kerbino Wol Agok.
 
The police spokesman denied Captain Kerbino’s statement that 400 inmates are in detention at the national security blue house facility.
 
"The incident occured on Sunday at 01:00AM when Captain Kerbino overpowered the guards at the building and disarmed them" He added.
 
According to Amnesty International's petition for Kerbino Wol Agok, "the 36-year-old South Sudanese businessman and philanthropist has been arbitrarily detained for 4 months since 27 April at the National Security Service (NSS) Blue House Headquarters in Juba.
 
He has been denied access to a lawyer and has not been informed of any charges against him. His health has deteriorated since he was detained, and he has not been given got adequate medical care since then. Although he sometimes receives visitors, no charges have been brought against him". the petition added.
 
Kerbino Wol Agok is the CEO of KASS Security Company and the founder of the Nile Foundation, a charity organization.
In an interview with Voice of America VOA on phone, Kerbino Wol Agok, says "systematic injustice is unacceptable".  I am speaking up on behalf of the voiceless. “We are asking for justice. We asked to be governed by the rule of law, not by force.” he stressed.
 
Another high profile detainee Peter Biar Ajak told VOA  that “Safety now is very relative, we are now in a situation where we don’t know what may happen”.
 
Biar is an academist who was arrested at the Juba International Airport in late July with others including Dong Samuel Luak, Aggrey Iddri, Anthony Nyero, and James Lual.
 
In September, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir ordered the release of all “prisoners of war and political detainees” as part of the revitalized peace agreement. This was one of the issues pointed out by the detainees on Sunday which led to the standoff. But Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told news men that those in detention are those who still have cases to answer before the court of law.
 

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