A prominent lawyer, Issa Muzamil was briefly held by police in Juba on Wednesday amidst power wrangles among members of the South Sudan Bar Association.
The detention comes two days after Muzamil warned media houses to stop covering activities of a splinter group led by those he described as former office bearers of the Bar Association – advocates James Alteib and Ajak Mayol.
In a notice letter dated July 1 and bearing the stamp of the Bar, Muzamil, who identified himself as the interim chair of the Bar, warned that any media house or journalist that covers or publishes any story or statement organized by Alteib and Ajak would be prosecuted.
Prior to this warning, the Alteib and Ajak’s group – which considers itself the legitimate – circulated an order dated May 21.
The order, among other things, deprives Muzamil of his immunity and practice license.
On Wednesday, Issa Muzamil was picked up by the officers from the Munuki police Post, on orders of the Legal Administration and Public Prosecution Attorney representing the three states of the Central Equatoria – Yei River, Jubek and Terekeka.
The order addressed to prosecution attorneys and chief inspectors of police reads that Muzamil is no longer an advocate after the Bar revoked his license.
Speaking at the Munuki Police station, Ajak Mayol who calls himself the Secretary-General of the Bar, accused Muzamil of forging stamps.
“South Sudan Bar association learned of an alleged person impersonating himself to be representing the South Sudan Bar Association,” Ajok said.
Ajak said his group opened a case against Issa for forging association documents.
“He forged the letterhead of South Sudan Bar Association, procuring a stamp that resembles South Sudan Bar Association an Executive and South Sudan Bar Association council,” he added.
“He has been arrested on those charges [and] operating illegally without a license as his license was revoked on 21st of May 2019 by the council with its quorum in place with representatives from the Ministry of Justice and representatives from the Judiciary of South Sudan in place.”
Philip Anyang, a lawyer who calls himself the secretary-general of the interim executive of the South Sudan Bar Association under the leadership of Issa Muzamil describes Ajak and Alteib’s group as disgruntled former leaders of the bar.
“Issa was taken to Munuki police Division this morning (Wednesday), we went there following up and we managed to have him released. The case against Issa is by the alleged group. There is a discarded group of the former leader of the Bar association,” Anyang said.
According to Anyang Issa Muzzamil is the chairperson of the Bar Association.
“Issa Muzzamil is the Chairperson of Bar Association, who was brought in by the general assembly and legal team entirely from the meeting of 25th of May whereby the general assembly set down and pass a vote of no confidence against the former leadership and brought in Issa Muzzamil as the chairperson with the team that came with.”
James Alteib succeeded Dr. Kon Bior shortly after his death in 2013.
His succession was disputed by some members of the Bar Association who felt that the election then was done in the absence of a neutral body and the general assembly.
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