The Spokesman of the South Sudanese armed opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, has been released from the notorious Blue House detention center in Juba.
James Gatdet was summarily extradited from the neighboring Kenya in November 2016 and handed over to the South Sudan National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
After spending one year and four months in detention, Gatdet was sentenced to death by Juba High Court on charges of treason and conspiracy against the government of President Salva Kiir.
The court sitting in February 2018, also gave Gatdet a concurrent 21 years imprisonment sentence for inciting violence using mainstream and social media.
On Friday morning, South Sudan government handed Gatdet to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Juba. He is expected to be flown to Sudan capital Khartoum where Dr. Machar is currently stationed awaiting the implementation of the recently signed peace agreement which reinstated him as the First Vice President.
Kiir, Machar and regional Heads of State including; Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Omar Bashir of Sudan, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki celebrated the peace agreement in Juba on Wednesday this week.
Before flying from Khartoum to Juba, Machar had asked Kiir to release all political prisoners, detainees, abductees and prisoners of war.
Former governor Marko Lokidor and 4 others were released last week but Gatdet, Will Endley, Aggrey Idri and Dong Luak remained in custody.
Today Gatdet and former Machar’s aide Will Endley who was released on Wednesday, were both handed over to Red Cross.