National, News

Activist receives death threats over NSS Bill

By Bosco Bush

 

A civil society activist has reported that he is receiving death threats from anonymous people following his criticism of the National Security Service Act 2014 (Amendment) Bill 2024.

On Wednesday, July 3, 2024, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) passed the National Security Act 2014 (Amendment) Bill 2024 maintaining articles 54 and 55, which granted NSS unfettered and autonomous authority to detain suspects without a warrant of arrest.

This act drew uproar and public condemnation from civil society activists and human rights bodies – citing detrimental implications of the bill to the citizens if signed into law.

Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA), the Human Rights Watch (HRW), on separate notes have initially condemned the bill urging President Salva Kiir not to sign or return the bill to parliament for extraction of the contentious articles therein.

Since then, Ter Manyang Gatwech, the executive director for CPA said he has been receiving death threats from unknown callers, warning him to stop advocating for the removal of articles 55, 54, and 57 from a bill, or else his life would be in danger.

Gatwech described receiving a call on Thursday at 11:34 AM from someone who knew his name and asked to meet with him to discuss “specific issues.”

“I asked him what those specific issues are. He declined to answer me back, and said ‘we have your details and we shall get you today or tomorrow,” he said.

When Gatwech asked for more details, the caller refused and threatened to harm him.

The following day at 2:00 PM, Gatwech said he received another call, this time with a threat urging him to leave the country and stop advocating for the removal of the bill sections.

“I received a call from an unknown number, and said if you love your life, please leave the country and stop advocating to remove the sections 55, 54, and 57,” Gatwech narrated.

Gatwech added that he reported these incidents to international and national human rights organizations for investigation, as well as to the national police service for further action.

He further called on “President Salva Kiir Mayardit to send the bill back to the Parliament for further deliberations in order to make the country safer from the NSS personnel.”

South Sudan Transitional Constitution 2011 prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and provides the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of their arrest or detention in court.

Article 9, of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

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