National security banned from civil arrest without warrant

By Bida Elly David

Government of South Sudan has scrapped off powers of the national security that allows them to arrest even without warrant any suspected criminals involved in committing offences that amount to national security threat.

Information minister and government spokesperson, Michael Makuei told reporters last Friday that the powers were swept off following critical revision of the National security act by the council of ministers with the recommendation of giving powers to the civil police segment since they are concerned with civil matters.

Speaking to journalists over the weekend, Michael Makuei Lueth, the minister of information and at the same time government’s spokesperson said that the national security will be acting against the law if found detaining any civilian at their units.

He said that national security according to the law is mandated to only be responsible in handling matters concerning crimes against the Country as a whole but not detention of civilians.

Makuei further said that the only solution is for the administration of the national security service to turn their detention centers in offices since powers were taken away from them by the act.

At the same note, the government spokesperson said the national security would only aid the police by handing over a perpetrator following a live crime scene that might have occurred in the presence of the officer of law.

“If the national security continues to maintain their detention centers, I think they are against the law. As they will do with their detention centers is not our concern but they can turn them into offices,” he said.

Makuei also stated that civilians have got full indirect right to arrest a criminal after a live scene of deadly crime by handing him (perpetrator) to a nearest police station.

“Citizens can even arrest criminals without warrant. If you get somebody killing somebody and you are capable of arresting him then do it. If you find, you have the power to arrest and take him to the police,” he cited.

He said that power of arrest is the right of every citizen mandated by the law found within the national constitution unless it is done out of the context of the mandate.

“This is the right given to every South Sudanese including the national security. Any South Sudan citizens who turn deaf ears against crimes committed is not concerned with the lives of his/her brothers and sisters,” he said.

A patriotic citizen who requested to be unanimous who spoke to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper criticized the civil mandate of arresting criminals by the government saying that the mandate was baseless since police according to the law disqualify civil participation in executing such duties.  

“Police department always warn citizens against encroachment against duties. They always tell us to inform the nearby police stations about crimes but not to arrest. This mandate is risky for us,” he said.

The source also reiterated risk against reporters who are believed to have been rushing to police stations for crime reports of murder noting that they may end up being detained as suspects.

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