BY: Professor Leonzio Angole Onek, Univ. of Juba, MAR/12/2017, SSN;
Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I have been encouraged by your move to declare a Prayer Day during which you are reported to have prayed for forgiveness.
I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church like you Sir. The teaching that has remained with me since my baptism day some 50 years ago is that one does not go to pray while he/she still has a quarrel with a brother, neighbor, relative or even a foreigner.
Therefore, I believe that in asking for forgiveness, you have also decided to wipe our personal and governmental plate clean of sins of omission and commission.
What interest do I have in these political prisoners? On December 7, 2015, I was arrested on the street near University of Juba; I have been a Dean of a college at the university since 2014.
Those who arrested me drove me to the Jebel Detention Facility and locked me up for five months, until I was released on April 25, 2016. During the five months I was not interrogated nor interviewed by any officer from the NSS; I did not know why I was arrested.
When the Government Spokesman was asked about my arrest at the time, his answer was that he was not aware of any professor being detained by the NSS. Few weeks before my release, I was interrogated by three senior officers from the NSS, who accused me of being a member of the SPLA-IO.
To spare you a lot of details, I did not make a plea whether I was guilty or not since I was not provided by a lawyer during the interrogation as required by the Constitution. However, I made the following statement to my interrogators:
“If I am a member of the SPLA-IO, which you have accused me of, I should then be released immediately since General Taban Deng Gai, who is heading the Advanced SPLA-IO Team in Juba and a snior member of the SPLA-IO, is free and a guest of the government. Additionally, H.E. The President of the Republic, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadit has decreed on January 1, 2016 that all those who have rebelled against the government and are in custody should be given amnesty and be released immediately. Therefore, based on these two grounds, I should be released.”
Several days later, I was released.
Sir, while I was in detention, I suffered many things including contracting life-threatening medical conditions. Yet, I am not bitter because I have resolved that this was a destiny dealt to me by my God.
Furthermore, while in custody, I met over 40 persons who were accused of being members of SPLM-IO or some other rebel groups, prior to the August 2015 Agreement. They too have suffered from many diseases and some of them have since died.
These are the prisoners for whom I am appealing to you to have mercy on and order their release. Some of them have been in detention for over three years without being taken to court. It is also probable that Your Excellency is not aware of their detention.
Their names are:
Alison Mogga Tadeo RIP; Aloro John; Andria Baambe; Angelo Banaveso; Ayume Dada; Chandiga Felix;
Daniel Bakumba; Davide Peter; Emilio Paul; George Livio Bahara; John Mboliako; Jorem Eseru;
Justin Yasir; Justin Wanis; Justine Peter; Justine Wanawila; Kennedy Kenyi; Lado James; Lokolong Joseph;
Martin Augustino; Michael Sokiri; Mike Tyson; Ochaya Godfrey Saverio; Ociti Richard Okumu; Otihu Lawrence;
Paul Baba; Richard Otti; Sokiri Felix Wani; Tartisio Oshini; Timothy Nyewe Mori; William Endly; James Gadet (new)
Professor Leonzio Angole Onek
Dean, College of Applied and Industrial Sciences
University of Juba