Two South Sudanese activists 'face deportation' from Kenya

 25 Jan 2017 - 19:16

Two South Sudanese activists 'face deportation' from Kenya
Rights groups raised the alarm after prominent lawyer and activist Dong Samuel Luak and member of the opposition SPLM-IO Aggrey Idri were detained by Kenyan police on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Photo courtesy: nyamile.com

AFP

Nairobi: Two South Sudanese opposition figures are being held in Kenya and are facing deportation to their home country where they are likely to be arrested, their lawyer said Wednesday.

Rights groups raised the alarm after prominent lawyer and activist Dong Samuel Luak and member of the opposition SPLM-IO Aggrey Idri were detained by Kenyan police on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

Their lawyer Edi Orinda told journalists he had not been told where they were being held or why.

"They are facing a possible deportation basing on reliable sources that we have been in contact with, and so we would just like to call on the government to stay true to its commitment under international law," he said.

Luak, who fled to Kenya in August 2013 after receiving death threats for defending a high-ranking politician accused of treason, is recognised as a refugee under Kenyan law, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

The rights group said Luak -- who has publicly criticised human rights abuses and corruption by South Sudanese government officials -- was brutally attacked at his home in Nairobi in October 2015.

HRW noted that in recent years Kenya had "unlawfully deported several prominent opposition members from neighbouring countries to their countries of origin, despite being recognised as refugees under Kenyan law."

These include James Gatdet Dak, the main spokesman for exiled opposition leader Riek Machar, who was deported in November 2016 and arrested upon his arrival in Juba. He has been held without charge ever since, according to HRW.

The world's youngest nation, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, two years after achieving independence, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 3.1 million people displaced.

The conflict broke out after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar -- of the SPLM-IO -- of plotting a coup.

Amnesty International's South Sudan researcher Elizabeth Deng said the two men risked "arbitrary detention and ill treatment and torture" if they were sent back to their country.

"We know this based on our extensive research and documentation of detention process by South Sudan security service including the national security service and the military," she told a press conference in Nairobi.