Former South Sudan rebel spokesperson James Gatdet Dak was arraigned in court in Juba Thursday to answer charges of treason.
Gatdet who was rebel leader Riek Machar spokesperson was deported by Kenyan authorities in November 2016 and has since been put under solitary confinement in Juba’s National Security Service (NSS) dungeon known as ‘Blue House’.
An NSS official official who spoke to this website on condition of anonymity said Gatde appeared “frail and resigned”.
“The reason why Gatdet can not be tried publicly is because government is worried about his health and how he appears currently. He’s not is a good shape,” he said.
Human rights groups condemned Kenya’s deportation of Gatdet, calling it a breach of international law by deporting a registered refugee. Documents seen by East Africa Daily indicate that Gatdet was registered in Kenya as a refugee in August 2015.
Witness from Rwanda
State reportedly flew in Rwandan experts to pin Gatdet for facebook posts he made about the four-year civil war, popular radio Tamazuj reported, quoting a relative.
“He came and presented a document. He said they used their own technology and found that the Facebook posts were written by James Gatdet himself,” he said.
“The Rwandan national said he went and verified Gatdet’s Facebook account and said he was using his knowledge as an IT expert,” he added.
The relative revealed that the prosecution witness Akilimali Shema is the chief inspector of cybercrime investigation unit of Rwandan police. “The prosecution witness said the documents were sent to him by South Sudan police in May 2017,” he said.
Although Gatdet is a political prisoner, South Sudan Information Minister Micheal Makuei said they are not holding any political or prisoners of war. “People in our custody are mere criminals who committed offenses and they are charged according to the law,” Makuei said.
This comes three days after a January 7 deadline for both sides to hand over political detainees and POWs to the International Committee of the Red Cross according to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed between warring parties on December 21, 2017.