James Gatdet Dak, the spokesman for South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has been sentenced to death by a High Court in the country’s capital of Juba on charges of treason and incitement against the government.
The spokesman who was initially deported to South Sudan from Kenya in November 2016, was also handed a combined 21 years for incitement and conspiracy against President Salva Kiir’s government.
However, the sentence handed to James has been described by his former lawyer as violating a ceasefire signed in December, which called for the release of all prisoners and detainees.
“I am disappointed. Such trials are not supposed to take place at this time,” Kuol told Reuters.
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The high court ruling comes days after United Nations revealed that armed groups in South Sudan have released more than 300 child soldiers as part of an ongoing project to free at least 400 children.
According to a statement by the UN mission in the country (UNMISS), the 311 children, including 87 girls, will now begin re-integrating into their communities.
Research by the UN mission reveals that the South Sudan Liberation Movement had recruited 563 children, while some 137 were associated with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army In-Opposition.
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