There followed a harrowing and deeply distressing saga of imprisonment, isolation, a ‘kangaroo’ trial, their Sudanese lawyer being threatened at gun point in the court, their family members being warned to keep away and our Foreign Ministry seemingly unable to intervene.
On 13 June 2016 the families were given the devastating news of their sons having been sentenced each one to 72 years’ imprisonment – ie. Life Imprisonment. The charges were money laundering and forgery! These four men were working for Click Technologies Ltd owned by a South Sudanese businessman with political connections who was embroiled in a vendetta with his brother. The four employees were in charge of sales, business development and graphic design.
To their credit the families have never faltered in their search for justice - from sourcing every possible assistance to petitions, demonstrations and regular vigils; they have received the solid backing of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and organizational support from AwaaZ.
As a result of their unrelenting efforts, and especially we understand the vigil held during President Salva Kiir’s visit to Kenya last March, a court of Appeal in Juba has now ordered a retrial. The convicts, their families and all friends of the SS4 are delighted and welcome this turn of events. Unfortunately the court has directed that the Four remain in Juba Central prison until the retrial is determined. Therefore no possibility of bail!
So the struggle must go on to ‘bring our boys back home’. The KHRC, AwaaZ and other CSO’s in solidarity with the South Sudanese Four and their families, continue their search for justice and are greatly appreciative of the support they have received from the national media, wananchi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others.