17 inmates released from Jonglei state prison

Justice John Yel Aleu, the Jonglei state high court judge (photo: Chol Makol Riak)

By Chol Makol Riak

At least 17 inmates have been released from Jonglei state central prison on Monday. The release of the 17 inmates comes as the presiding judge of Jonglei state high court visited the inmates at Jonglei state prison on Monday.

Justice John Yel Aleu, Jonglei state’s high court judge said among the released prisoners are convicts, convicted for fight and alcoholic crimes.

“During my visits I go through their files and listen to them and as the high court judge I made an immediate decision for about 17 prisoners of which 14 of them are male and 3 are female. Those who are being detained have right to be bailed out and I’m waiting for them to bring their bailers and they would be bailed out and that would depend on when they will bring their bailer, there are many in number” Justice Yel said.    

Yel added “the released prisoners have different cases, there are those who have been convicted for fighting due to the influence of alcohol in Bench Court and C court, those who have spend 5 to 6 months and remained with fines or 2-3 months have been released and some of them convicted in other cases like thief and remain with fines 2-3 months have been released also”.

He described the living condition of the jailbirds at Jonglei central prison better to other prison services that he visit within the country.

“What I see here Jonglei central prison is better than other prison I visited in South Sudan, this prison is better, for that case they have separate place for male, female, and juvenile. The number of the inmates here are very less comparing to other prisons” Justice Yel said.

He added that number of the prisoners at Jonglei state prison is up to 265 adding that most of them have been convicted.

Ruben Bol, Jonglei state director for prison service appreciated justice Yel for his visit to the inmates.

“It is my pleasure to have justice Yel visiting us today at Jonglei state prison, it is first time for such a very great judiciary inspection could take place and all of us here at Jonglei state prison service are very grateful to have justice John Yel” Ruben said. 

However, Jonglei state prison Boss added that the judges of the Bench court and C court will learn from the visit of Justice Yel and correct their mistakes in case.

“The visit of the high court judge is very vital to us and the people of Jonglei state, the judges from other small courts have seen and there were some errors they have seen and they will correct them and if there are good judgement they made they will be able to continue with the good work” he added.

For her part, Tara Sadasivan, human right officer working with UNMISS human right division and team leader in Jonglei state said that they advocate for the rights of person in need.

“Our work, human right division we monitor the situation in prison and other detention centers and advocate for the rights of the persons in needs to happen and what happen today is a great coordination between the international community (the UNMISS), judiciary, the directorate and director of prison services” Tara said.

She added that detention is done to rehabilitate people who have committed crime.

“Freedom of liberty is the rule and the detention are only an accession, so detention is done to rehabilitate not to change someone or to put someone through unnecessary torture. So, would like to appreciate the judiciary and the directorate of legal administration and prison service for working together to ensure that so many people are released today” Tara said.

Speaking to some of the inmates who were released, Rebecca Nyibol appreciated the team for their visit to the prison.

“What I can say to the team especially Justice Yel is may the love and peace of our lord God be with us. It was the resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday and he just visit and released us today and I would wish that may God bless everybody such that the rate of crimes may reduce in our state” Nyibol said. she added that “with God’s grace, I would be ambassador of peace to our people, it sometimes depends on how other person thinks or behave, we all love ourselves we would not either fight or commit other kind of crimes”.

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