South Sudan Court Dismisses Case Against Detained U.S. Citizen

Juba — The High Court in South Sudan, on Friday, dropped a case in which Elton McCabe, an American citizen and his business counterpart, were being detained on allegation of attempted kidnap.

McCabe and Mohamed Oglah, an Iraqi national, were in October arrested by security agents, who accused the duo of allegedly plotting to kidnap an Indian businessperson, and reportedly demanded a $5 million ransom.

The two run a construction consultancy firm in Juba, the South Sudan capital.

The Juba-based US embassy, in a 14 October letter, condemned the arrest, urging South Sudanese authorities to ensure its citizen get fair trial in the court.

Agok Makur, the lawyer who represented the two men told journalists on Friday that his clients were released following a letter from the country's Justice Ministry.

"The Ministry of Justice wrote a letter to the judge asking him to stop the court process of this case and withdraw it from the court," Makur said, adding that the ministerial order was in line with article 25 of the criminal procedure laws.

"By this letter, the judge declared that the two people can be released", said the defense lawyer.

Sources familiar with the case, however, told Sudan Tribune the two men were released after the state failed to provide enough evidence top in them.

"There were lots of contradictions in this case. It was all clear from the beginning that such a case would not survive the test of time," said John Mogga, a law student, who attended Friday's court session.

Meanwhile, McCabe, upon his release, said he was relieved and happy that justice had finally prevailed.

"I am relieved after 55 days. Long, long journey is finally over. We are free, the case was thrown out and we are very, very happy. The justice was served, we prevailed, and I am very, happy", he told journalists outside the court premises.

Neither government nor the US embassy in Juba has issued a public statement on the release of the two men, held in detention for over two months.

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