16 November 2012

South Sudan: Police Denies Seeking 'Ransom' to Release Arrested American

Juba — South Sudan's police denied on Friday reports claiming it is seeking a "ransom" to release Elton Mark McCabe, an American national arrested by government agents in October.

The United States Embassy in South Sudan on Thursday declined to comment about the circumstances leading to McCabe's arrest but expressed deep concern on Wednesday in a statement; saying the suspect was denied medication for a period of five days during his detention.

McCabe's wife had claimed her husband been arrested on charges of kidnapping an Indian businessman for a $5 million ransom. Anne McCabe says her husband was picked up by security agents in "a tinted vehicle" and drove away to a detention centre in the capital Juba, where he was detained in "darkness" for over 36 hours.

"He told me when I talked to him this week that he was beaten by security agents who are trying to extort $100,000 for his release for no apparent reason. They are making everything up. Someone else is making drama out of my husband", Anne McCabe told Sudan Tribune.

The US ambassador, Sudan Page, according to the embassy's release, visited McCabe in prison and expressed disappointment after the visit.

"We are deeply concerned with reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions. We have raised his case at the highest level of the South Sudanese government, urging that he be granted due process as stipulated in South Sudan's Transitional Constitution," the embassy said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Colonel James Monday, a spokesperson for South Sudan Police Service on Friday described the reports as "serious allegations" which his ministry "must investigate to find out the truth".

"These are serious allegations and we are not taking it lightly. We take them seriously", Colonel Monday told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

He said the case is no longer being handled by security services but has been transferred to the court which has scheduled a hearing to take place on 22 November.

"All the complaints will be heard during the trail and if there are those who are trying to get money from him, he will say it. It is his right but I do not think whether there were people who have asked him to pay money because I know that prisoners are not asked to pay so that they are released", explained colonel Monday.

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