Release Machar’s rep, SPLM-IO tells Kenya
‘It’s unfortunate the Kenyan government wants to hand over an opposition spokesperson to a government that killed its people’
The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition has demanded release of Riek Machar’s spokesperson, saying he should be granted political asylum in another country.
This follows reports spokesman James Gatdet has been arrested by Kenyan security agencies and is detained at the JKIA police station.
Representative to the UN Miyong Kuon on Wednesday said they have reports Gatdet will be deported.
SPLM-IO condemned the detention as a violation of the UN Charter on Freedom of Expression and Association. “I’m appealing to your esteemed office to abort the deportation case of James Gatdet and accord him asylum in a country where he will be safe to reside,” Kuon said in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
He said the detention should be condemned by all state leaders, including Kenya as a UN member. “It’s unfortunate the Kenyan government wants to take this unwelcome move of handing over an opposition spokesperson to a government that killed its own people,” the letter said.
But South Sudan Ambassador Mariano Deng said the arrest will not create a diplomatic issue between the two countries. “We are not going to get involved in the matter, as it is between Kenya and an individual, not South Sudan,” he told the Star on the phone.
Deng said Kenya’s relationship with his country will not be affected, and the Kenyan government must have a good reason for the arrest. He said he did not know the reason, but it was not related to a UN decision. “We are grateful to Kenya for efforts to restore peace in South Sudan,” Deng said.
The Kenyan side refused to comment. Speaking to journalists yesterday, government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the issue is a sensitive security matter and he would not interfere.
He said Kenya maintains its position on immediate withdrawal of Kenyan troops from the UN Sudan mission.
President Uluru Kenyatta and Riek Machar at State House, Nairobi, in 2014. Machar had paid a courtesy call on the President