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Private Yak Garang Yak attached to Tiger division sits in the dock during the general court martial sitting in Juba.

Army court sentences private Yak Garang Yak to death

The General Court Martial of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) on Friday sentenced Private Yak Garang Yak to death after being found guilty of killing three Syrians and a South Sudanese national in Warrap State.

“The court has decided the following, the convict Private Yak Garang Yak is dismissed from SSPDF files and ranks with effect from March 3, 2023, the convict is sentenced to death by firing squad,” Majok Michael Chan, the court martial judge said while reading out the final verdict in the Giada military barracks in Juba.

Chan said Yak Garang Yak has the right to appeal within 15 days as prescribed by the law.

Garang was charged with murder under section 206 of the South Sudan Penal Code 2008, and disobedience of lawful orders under section 67 of the SPLA Act 2009, and mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or harm under section 327 of the South Sudan Penal Code 2008.

On January 7th, Garang shot dead the four people in Akon village where the Syrians were deployed to construct the house belonging to President Salva Kiir. Deng Malong a 15-year-old South Sudanese boy was killed by stray bullet after witnessing the gruesome murder of the Syrians.

Garang had been deployed to guard construction workers of CMK Construction Company.

Alen Anthony Juma, the prosecutor said the court verdict was fair and consistent with law.

 “We have heard the final verdict in the case of the accused Yak Garang, the court sentenced the accused by firing squad, the ruling is right, it is just for the family of the victim,” Juma said.

Abdurrahman Asif, the relative of the slain three Syrian nationals said the verdict shows that there is law and order in South Sudan.

“The verdict has shown that the country has law and order, it shows the country has a government, the victims have got their right, we thank South Sudan and the government,” he said.

Agoth Atak, the uncle to Deng Malong, demanded 51 cows as compensation for their son.

 “In our tradition if the killing is not intentional, people demand compensation, they have to pay 51 cows,” Atak said.

William Johnson, the defense lawyer said they will appeal the court decision within the prescribed time.

“We have presented  our position in the case in front of the court, but the court has passed the verdict against the private soldier, we will have to file an appeal as soon as possible,” Johnson said.

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