The South Sudan government on Tuesday (January 28) announced that seven senior politicians implicated in last year's alleged coup attempt on December in Juba would face treason changes.
The Minister of Justice said three of those allegedly involved would be tried in absentia: former Vice-President Riek Machar, former Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai and former Environment Minister Alfred Lado Gore. The four others, Pagan Amum, Majak D'Agoot, Oyai Deng Ajak and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, detained in Juba and would not be released pending their trial.
The Minister said "We believe these people have a case to answer before the court for planning and carrying out the coup. Dr. Machar has denied the charges, claiming the fighting was a move by President Salva Kiir to silence opposition in the SPLM leadership. The Minister, Paulino Wanawilla, said seven other detained politicians, John Luk Jok, Peter Adwok Nyaba, Kosti Manibe, Madut Biar Yel, Deng Alor Kuol, Ciruno Hiteng and Gier Chuang Aluong, who had allegedly planned to "mobilize the public to bring down the government" would be freed and sent to a neighboring country for safety concerns.
The Minister said that they were being released on bail as "we did not have enough evidence to prosecute these people". In the Agreements for a Cessation of Hostilities and on Detainees, signed last week in Addis Ababa (January 23), the South Sudan Government and the SPLM in Opposition recognized that IGAD and IGAD Partners were committed to the release of the detainees and agreed to establish an all-inclusive National Reconciliation Process.