10 December 2018

South Sudan: Multitudes On Death Row

Photo: Jason Patinkin
Civilians fleeing Kajo Keji county, toward the southern border with Uganda

Khartoum — A CHILD is among seven people executed in South Sudan this year, a record for the world's newest country.

Human rights groups now fear for the lives of another 135 people on death row after authorities rounded them up to two prisons where further executions are to be carried out.

The spate of state-sanctioned killings appears to have been sparked by the Director-General of the National Prison Service, Henry Kuany Aguar.

In April, he ordered all death row prisoners held at county and state prisons to be moved to the notorious death chambers- Wau and Juba Central Prisons.

A least one child and a breastfeeding mother are among those reportedly transferred.

"The transfer of 135 death row prisoners to prisons in Juba and Wau where all executions have taken place so far is deeply alarming," said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International regional director.

Nyanyuki lamented the execution of people, even children, in South Sudan coincided with the world abandoning the death sentence.

Last year, South Sudanese authorities executed four people, two of whom were children.

Since independence in 2011, South Sudanese courts have sentenced at least 140 people to death. Authorities have executed at least 32 people.

"The President of South Sudan (Salva Kiir Mayardit) must stop signing execution orders and end this obvious violation of the right to life," Nyanyuki said.

Crimes such as murder, terrorism, treason, aggravated drug trafficking and bearing false witness carry the death sentence.

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