Detained activist, journalist released without charges

Activst Bol Deng Bol

Activist Bol Deng Bol and journalist Chol Kimani who were arrested by security officers in Bor town of Jonglei State on Monday morning, have been released without charges.

Bol Deng and Chol Kimani were arrested during a demolition exercise by the mayor of Bor town. The demolition exercise targeted some hotels and buildings in Bor.

“The reason they arrested me was that I had taken pictures illegally of what the joint forces were doing, so they were implementing the orders of the mayor,”.

“They first arrested Journalist Chol Kimani, and when I went to check on Chol before reaching where he was, they stopped me and asked me if I was Bol Deng, I told them I was, and then they started beating me, they handcuffed me, tied my hands to my back,” he added.

Bol Deng is the Chairperson of the Jonglei Civil Society Network, a civil society group based in Bor.

Bol said he is still nursing bruises and swellings he sustained from the brutal beating by the joint force of police and national security personnel.

“They said I had taken pictures of what they were doing illegally and took my phone. I unlocked my phone for them, and they did not find any pictures, but they still tortured me until 5 pm,” he narrated. “When the mayor came around 5 pm, he carried out his investigation and found no pictures on the phone but said I was always critical of him (mayor).”

Meanwhile, journalist Chol Kimani said he was passing near the area where the demolition exercise was taking place when he was stopped, beaten then arrested.

“I was beaten and detained for a few hours. On Monday morning, the mayor ordered the security personnel to destroy some buildings within the market. I was just passing, and I found my sister had been beaten by the soldiers, so I asked a policeman I knew why they beat her,” he explained. “The soldiers said the girl took their photos, and I asked them to check her phone and delete the photos instead of beating her. Then they immediately started beating me and took me to the police. I was released shortly after.”

 According to the Secretary General of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) in Jonglei State, Achol Kur, three people were arrested alongside the activist and the journalist.

“Five people were detained, one journalist, one activist, and three other citizens. Interestingly, the people and officials in this state are well informed about the work of journalists and civil society,” she said. “But if such things arise, then we do not know how we can say there is a government. We should protect the rights of our citizens.”

“This journalist was actually going to the office, and he did not know whether he would be detained or not, so this is very unfortunate,” she added.

Efforts to get a comment from Jonglei State Police Spokesperson Maj. Daniel Tuor were not successful, as his phone went unanswered.

 South Sudan’s Constitution prohibits police from holding suspects for more than 24 hours without taking them to court.

South Sudanese law also prohibits disciplinary measures that are cruel or degrading or could compromise the physical or mental health of a detainee. 

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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