A prominent South Sudanese rights activist and critic of the government has been charged with terrorism.
But Thursday’s charges against Peter Biar, who appeared at a high court in Juba, differed from the initial ones levied against him when he was first arrested eight months ago at Juba airport as he attempted to travel to Aweil state.
At that time, Biar had posted comments critical of the government on Twitter as well as criticising South Sudan’s ongoing peace process, the Sudan Tribune reported.
Following his arrest, Biar was charged with national security-related offences including “publishing false statements prejudicial to South Sudan and treason” among others.
But on Thursday he was accused of threatening national security. The upgraded charges include insurgency, terrorism, banditry, sabotage, public violence, and possession of arms and ammunition inside a detention facility.
The detention facility charge relates to a riot outside Juba’s national security detention facility last October when armed inmates took two guards hostage.
His trial is expected to continue until Monday and the South Sudan Civil Society Forum, concerned about due process being followed, has called for a fair trial for the activist and other detainees.
– African News Agency