By William Madouk

The General court-martial on Friday sentenced private Yak Garang Yak to death by firing squad for killing three Syrian nationals and a South Sudanese in Akon village, Gogrial West of Warrap State.

President of a general military court martial and presiding Judge Maj-Gen. Majok Micheal Chan, during the seventh session also pronounced the expulsion of Yak from South Sudan People’s Defense Forces files and ranks.

“Final verdict! One, the convicted private Yak Garang Yak is dismissed from SSPDF file and rank with effect from March 3, 2023,” Judge Chan said “Two, the convicted is sentenced to death by firing squad.” He continued.

The presiding Judge also gave 15 days for the legal defendant team to appeal against the ruling, adding that the filing case would now be sent to the authorized authority.

Yak, who pleaded guilty to the crime was charged by the military Court with first-degree murder for crimes under section 83 of the SSPDF Act, 2009 read together with section 206 of the South Sudan Panel code that cites murder.

It also includes; section 327 of the SSPDF Act, 2009 for causing damage to the company’s car together with section 67 for defying lawful orders.

Unapologetic Yak told the court that, he ordered the deceased to lie down, and later shot them after he was irked by his late boss’s decision not to increase his pay.

After committing the crime, he attempted to flee the crime scene using the victim’s car but was later arrested by his fellow soldier. He admitted to all the accusations, saying sanely sound-mindedly that he committed the alleged crime to teach his boss a lesson.

PVT Yak also uncovered that he had an agreement with his boss to add SSP 20 thousand to his initial salary of SSP 30,000, however, the sealed deal was not fulfilled by the deceased.

However, rights defender, William Johnson Dut who is also defending Yak Garang said the court’s decision is ‘hurtful’ and a ‘disgrace’ to the rights of Yak Garang Yak.

“We still have a chance to appeal against this ruling, so we will appeal with whatever means,” Dut said.

“I have already submitted the request to the court to take Yak for medical examination to see whether he is sane, but if he’s confirmed to be insane then the court will drop the death sentence,” he added.

Reacting to the court ruling, the lawyer representing the family of the victims, Allen Anthony Juma lauded the martial court for being ‘neutral’ and ‘fair’ in delivering the final ruling.

“We consider the ruling as logic, fair and does justice to the families of the victims and from here we thank all security organs for their efforts from day one up to today,” Juma said.

Abdurrahman a brother to slain Syrians, appreciated the court and South Sudanese authorities for carrying out justice for his slew brothers. 

Counselling the foreigners to be sacred saying “the country has law and government there is nothing called chaos here.”

Agoth Atak, uncle to Deng Malong, a South Sudanese who was killed by a stray bullet said that based on the court order to choose, as the family they have opted for compensation but the court already ruled the opposite.

“To the family, I would like you to know that I have relayed your message to the court to recompense for the blood of our loss son,” he said.

Private Yak who belongs to Tiger Division was contracted to provide security and also work as a driver at a construction firm known as A.F.K – managed by a Syrian national. The Syrians were building President Salva Kiir’s house in the Akon area of Warrap state.

Section 206 of the panel code says whoever causes the death of another person commits the offence of murder, and upon conviction shall be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment.

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