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Activist detained for ‘poor governance’ criticism

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, May 21, 2020

Detained activist Mariak Madut. Photo: facebook/Mariak Madut Thiik

An activist is reportedly being held at a national security detention facility for criticizing the defunct Gogrial state government over slow response to communal fighting in the area.

Mariak Madut, who was attested on Tuesday, is now allegedly being kept at the National Security headquarters in Juba.

In a Facebook post shared on the 14th and 18th of this month, Mariak Madut blamed the government for escalation of the inter-communal violence there.

According to his uncle Agany Maler, the activist has lately been critical of governance issues in the state.

Maler believes that Gogrial authorities and other politicians in Juba are behind Madut’s detention.

He spoke to Eye Radio in Juba on Wednesday.

The South Sudan Transitional Constitution Article 24 (1) states that every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception, and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to public order, safety or morals as prescribed by law.

However,  the Penal Code Act, Article 289, subsection 3 provides for punishment of defamatory communication if proven by the courts of law.

Mr. Maler is now calling on the national security to release his uncle.

“I am urging the government to release Mariak and free him because now in this country we are confused. It seems there is freedom of expression and the media as stated in the constitution, but if you express yourselves you will be arrested.”

The national security service is yet to comment on the accusations.

According to recent UN reports, restrictions on freedom of expression in South Sudan are having a “chilling effect” and “further shrinking the space for debate and dissent” in the young nation.

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