South Sudan: Relief as president pardons two prominent death row inmates

Responding to the granting of a presidential pardon to former South Sudanese opposition spokesman James Gatdet Dak and South African national William Endley, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

The pardoning of James Gatdet and William Endley comes as a relief to all who cherish human rights and abhor the death penalty, but more needs to be done ... by abolishing this ultimate cruel form of punishment
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The pardoning of James Gatdet and William Endley comes as a relief to all who cherish human rights and abhor the death penalty, but more needs to be done. The South Sudanese authorities must commute all death sentences and get on the right side of history by abolishing this ultimate cruel form of punishment.

“It, however, remains extremely disturbing that Gatdet, a duly registered refugee, was irregularly repatriated to South Sudan by Kenyan authorities, putting his life at grave risk. This repatriation must be fully and independently investigated, and action taken against those responsible.”

It, however, remains extremely disturbing that Gatdet, a duly registered refugee, was irregularly repatriated to South Sudan by Kenyan authorities, putting his life at grave risk.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

James Gatdet Dak was the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by former Vice-President Riek Machar when he was taken from his Nairobi home and deported to South Sudan in November 2016.

“The Kenyan authorities have a duty to ensure the safety of all those in its territory, including refugees. It must always uphold their rights under international law.”

Both James Gatdet Dak and William Endley were pardoned by President Salva Kiir on 31 October 2018, as the country held celebrations to mark the latest agreement to end almost five years of armed conflict in the country. William Endley will be deported to his native South Africa, immediately upon being released.