Prominent South Sudanese rights activist arrested: Family, lawyer

The rights activist heads a number of rights organisations across South Sudan, including the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum.

Published: 30th July 2018 08:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th July 2018 08:19 PM   |  A+A-

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By AFP

JUBA: A prominent South Sudanese rights activist critical of both President Salva Kiir's regime as well as rebel leader Riek Machar has been arrested, a family member and lawyer said Monday.

Peter Biar Ajak, who has been featured on various international media giving analysis on the ongoing peace talks in Khartoum, was arrested Saturday at Juba International Airport, a family member requesting anonymity told AFP.

"He's innocent and he is not a threat to anyone so we wonder why they would arrest him and he is just a normal civilian like any other citizen of South Sudan," the relative said.

Biar heads a number of rights organisations across South Sudan, including the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum.

In recent comments to the media he said a power-sharing deal, which is due to be finalised next month, was unrealistic and unlikely to restore peace in the war-ravaged nation as certain key opposition groups were excluded.

The government has not commented on Biar's arrest.

Philip Sanyang Ngong, a right activist who works with Advocates Without Borders, confirmed the arrest and told AFP that Biar was being held at the National Security Service compound known as "Blue House".

"Arresting Peter Biar is one thing but then all the procedures of him being availed to his lawyers, him being availed to his family members are all things we expect and we want the government to look into these things if there is a case against Biar."

Biar has also urged both Kiir and Machar to step aside and make way for new people to rule the country, ravaged by nearly five years of war.

South Sudan's warring parties last week signed a preliminary power-sharing deal which sees Machar re-instated as vice president, with four other vice president positions shared out among other political groups.

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