Family of detained trader protest unlawful military detention

By Bida Elly David

The family members of a trader and chairperson of Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal state chamber of commerce, Deng Makol Athian who was reportedly arrested and detained by army has termed as “injustice” their son’s detention at the military intelligence detention unit for months without trial.

In a statement extended to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, the family of the detainee said that Deng who served as the chair of Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal chamber of commerce and a senior trader was summoned alongside his friends and put under tentative detention for days by the army Lion, division three and later transferred to Juba.

They said that their son and his colleagues in the enterprise after being transferred remained under detention without getting access to legal advocates.

“We the family members of Deng are concerned about his continued arbitrary (detention) in a military facility without trial. He has been unwell before he was arrested and now his health condition continues to deteriorate which is the major concern of the family,” the family statement partly read.

They condemned the military section for having detained their son at their facility since he neither have any military affiliation of whatever kind nor does he has links with military forces but tried to serve for the government for couple of years.

The family said that the military division failed to clarify reasons behind the detention of their son and rather keep him under punitive detention without future.

“The state government under which he served as the chairman of chamber of commerce has either distanced itself from his arrest or denied any knowledge of any charges levied against him. The military division which summoned him gave no definitive answer about why he was arrested in the first place,” they said.

Moreover, the family stated that efforts to consult the chief of defense forces who signed for the apprehension of their son could not be reached for comments.

“The chief of defense forces whom we were sufficiently informed to have signed off-on and ordered their arrest could not be reached for comments or had refused to authorize their release,” the family said.

However, it appealed to the office of the chief of defense forces of SPDF to transfer their son and his friends from the military unit to the civil court for trail since they are not military officers.

“Keeping civilians in the military facility is not only a violation of their rights but an outright abuse of their civil liberties, a persuasive injustice the people of South Sudan sacrificed their future and lives to oppose,” they stated.

They further argued that the detention of Deng for four (4) months was a violation of Article 19 (4) which calls for any accused person to be presented in the court of law within 24 hours after their arrest.

However, efforts to reach the SSPDF for comment on the matter were not immediately successful by press time.

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