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Two last SSBC Journalists at NSS’s detention facility release

The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) on Saturday said the two journalists who remained at detention facility at National Security Service have finally been released.

Garang John and Jacob Benjamin, who work state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation’ (SSBC) were released on Thursdays’ evening three-days after the release of their colleagues, Victor Ladu and Mustafa Osman.

Oyet Patrick, the President of UJOSS, told Juba Echo that the release of Garang John and Jacob Benjamin is positive move.

“They are out. They were released on Thursday evening between 7 and 8 PM. We are happy that they are out and thank the stakeholders who really participated in making sure they get out including Media Authority, the Ministry of Information and they lawyers that we had and National Security,” said Oyet.

“They have been really giving us their ears, we have been talking and we have been meeting, so it is the result of all those that has ended up in get them out.”

He said the release of journalists is an indication that the government listen to his people, adding that this will strengthen relationship between the Union and the government’s institution.

 “It is a good thing and it basically mean that government is listening to our calls, which is good and we believe that this is going to strengthen our relationship going forward so that we cooperate better,” he said.

Oyet urged journalists continue doing their work in professional manner and never get discourage.

“My message is that journalists should continue doing their work, we have a role to inform the public but we should be professional, we should do our work in professional manner to help our people get information.”

The Internal Security Bureau (JSB) of National Security Service in January arrested seven SSBC journalists in connection with a video that went viral which shows President Salva Kiir, 71, wetting his trousers at official function last December.

Six of the journalists were arrested on 3 and 4 January before another SSBC journalist, Garang John, was also taken on the same issues of late January 2023.

 Garang John said he is out of jail after 60-days of confinement but said his health is compromised.   

“I am out of jail after 60-days of confinement. My health is totally compromised. I can’t feel my brain. Doctors are yet to figure out what’s wrong with my lungs,” Garang said in his Facebook post.

Garang hailed Union of Journalists and everyone who fought for his released.

“Kindly understand that I am not in a position to respond to your messages or pick calls at the moment but thanks to the union of journalists and everyone who have showed me love in this ungrateful society,” he said.                                                                                                                                                                     

Reech Malual, Deputy Chairman for South Sudan Bar Association said their arrest  put their freedom and rights in jeopardy.

“Arresting people without investigating or without any suspicion and just to be release after their freedom has been put in jeopardy is not right, it is an abuse of power,” said Malual.

A prominent human rights defender said the apprehension of said journalists in first place was illegal as right procedures were not followed.

“I would still urge the National Security to follow the law and in case of things to do with civil servants, they are of certain understanding under the law and not necessarily somebody should be arrested and intimidated or put maybe behind bars without any reason.”

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