Charges that could bear the death sentence or life imprisonment were brought against rebel leader Riek Machar’s former spokesman James Gatdek Dak at a criminal court in the capital, Juba.
Machar’s spokesman Lam Kuei Lam said in a statement issued yesterday that James Gatdet Dak who is now detained by security officials is facing serious charges after being taken to Juba County Court last week.
He said the charges against the former spokesman include: inciting violence (article 52), treason (article 64), disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security (article 75), and insulting the president (article 76) under the South Sudanese penal code of 2008.
Lam has complained that the government was flouting the law by taking Gatdet to court without any legal assistance, describing the process as “unfair”. He pointed out that Gatdet Dak also didn’t have a translator of his choice in the courtroom last week when the court hearing was conducted in Arabic, a language Gatdet does not speak fluently.
The opposition official criticized the trial and urged rights groups to provide legal aid services to James Gatdet. He appealed to the court to allow human rights organizations and civil society activists to be present during court sessions.
The next court sitting is expected to take place on 30 August.
James Gatdet was deported to Juba by Kenyan authorities in November last year.
Just before his deportation to Juba, Gatdet had expressed his support for the removal of a Kenyan general of a United Nations peacekeeping force accused of failing to protect civilians after the outbreak of war in Juba in July last year.