South Sudan’s trial of the former spokesman of rebel leader accused of treason and other serious charges stalled again on Wednesday last week before the criminal court in Juba.
Riek Machar’s former spokesman James Gatdet Dak is accused of inciting violence (article 52), treason (article 64), disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security (article 75), and insulting President Kiir and ministers (article 76) under the South Sudanese penal code of 2008.
A top judicial official, on condition of anonymity, told Radio Tamazuj yesterday that the court sitting that was conducted secretly last week has been adjourned until Wednesday, September 13.
He said Gatdet’s defense lawyer Monyluak Alor Kuol was given a chance during the third hearing last week to defend his client.
The judicial source, who was present during the court sitting, said Monyluak Alor refuted all charges levelled against Gatdet, including allegations that his client was inciting violence on social media following fighting in July last year.
Gatdet, he said, also responded that he wrote on his Facebook page in Nairobi after being informed about clashes at J1 by one of the opposition leader’s bodyguards.
He further said Alor also refuted the accusation that James Gatdet insulted President Salva Kiir when he wrote on his Facebook page: Is President Salva Kiir a war criminal?
The defense lawyer, according to the judicial source, explained to the presiding judge last week that the content of Gatdet’s Facebook post was just a question, and not an insult.
The same judicial source said the court revealed that the complainant in the case against James Gatdet was the National Security Service represented by Angelo Sabrino.
He pointed out that the security investigator during the court sitting last week Mr. Alex insisted that they were given excessive powers by the law to arrest any person without a warrant, saying James Gatdet’s arrest had nothing to do with his political affiliation.
James Gatdet was deported to Juba by Kenyan authorities in November last year.
Just before his deportation to Juba, Gatdet had expressed his support for the removal of a Kenyan general of a United Nations peacekeeping force accused of failing to protect civilians after the outbreak of war in Juba in July last year.