FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pretoria, 26th May 2017– According to news reports, Mr. George Livio, a journalist with the UN’s Radio Miray
a, has been released from unlawful detention in South Sudan, where he was held at a National Security facility incommunicado and in deplorable conditions for over 1000 days without charges. We commend the Gove
rnment for Livio’s release but condemn the increasingly routine arbitrary detention of journalists on unfounded accusations. This seems a deliberate ploy to undermine press freedom for political reasons.
Systematic state-inspired harassment, intimidation and oppression of journalists sends a chilling message to those seeking the truth, and promotes self-censorship in media houses, setting the stage for impunity.
The Government must respect the crucial contribution of factual, objective and neutral media to keeping citizens informed and holding the powerful to account, especially under the current extraordinary circumstances.
We demand that:
- Government immediately release all journalists and other political prisoners still arbitrarily held in prisons, jails and other detention facilities in South Sudan.
- Government grant the International Committee of the Red Cross immediate and unimpeded access to all places of detention to ensure that all political prisoners are freed or granted due process, in accordance with President Kiir’s recent directive.
- Government ensure that all released political prisoners are entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.
- The international community prevail upon the Government to end its mission to silence its citizens and violently suppress dissident voices.
- The international community use all leverage to ensure that journalists in South Sudan are able to perform their professional duties without intimidation and government interference.
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