Court Summons 7 Political Detainees Released On Bail

Left to Right: Ezekiel Gatkouth, Majak D’AgotAtem, Pagan Amum and Oyay Deng in the dock on Tuesday. [Gurtong|Francis Apiliga Lagu]

The trial of Majak D’AgotAtem (former deputy defense minister), Pagan Amum, (former SPLM Secretary General), Ezekiel Gatkouth, (former ambassador to US) and Oyay Deng, (former Security minister)began on Monday.

They and seven others have been accused by the government of subverting its constitutional authority, alleging the accused masterminded the “coup attempt” in mid-December last year.

“Based on the request, the court directs that the seven suspects namely: Deng Alor, John Luk, Kosti Manibe, Gier Chuang, Madut Biar, Chol Tong andCirinoHiteng are summoned through the prosecution to appear in this court on the 19 of March,”Justice James Alala Deng, the lead judge said.

While cross-examining the evidences, prosecution witness police investigator Maj Gen. Jackson Elia alleged that Taban Deng and Oyai Deng had a taped conversation about their forces being “under pressure”.

A new flag purported to be the new flag if the coup succeeded and a recorded audio conversation between Taban and Oyay were produced as evidence before the court. None of the four at the time of their arrest was found in military uniform and were without the exhibits and arms according to the cross-examination.

Their charges include; treason, abetment, conspiracy, acts committed by several persons in furtherance of common intension, subverting the constitutional government and inciting the army and public.

These charges are largely drowned from a press release issued by Riek Machar and his company before the crisis began. “We are now looking forward to see prosecution witnesses one by one,”Monyluak Alor Kuol, the lead defense lawyer said.

“There are about 13 of them.  We shall develop defense witnesses depending on how the prosecution presents this case. So we are developing it.” According to Alor, there are international lawyers among the observers in the court who will join the defense team after they are accredited.

The four accused throughout the trial looked confident, smiled and waved at their relatives as they were led to the vanback to their cell. The court was heavily guarded by security personnel as traffic leading to the Supreme Court was diverted.The next session is fixed for 19 March 2014 at 10:00am.

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