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South Sudan court sentences rights activist to two years in prison

June 11, 2019 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese court Tuesday sentenced for two years of imprisonment South Sudanese rights activist and vocal critic Peter Biar who is indicted of spying after giving interviews to a foreign media.

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Peter Biar Ajak poses with Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, on 7 April 2018 (ST Photo)

Biar who was arrested on 28 July 2018 was initially charged with national security-related offences after posting several tweets criticizing the peace process.

However in March 2019 he was accused with six others of orchestrating a riot at the National Security detention facility in Juba, the "Blue House" when armed inmates took two guards hostage on 7 October 2018.

The prosecution said Biar who at the time gave interview to Voice of America Radio from the prison disturbed peace and that his interviews amounted to espionage.

The court sided with prosecutors and sentenced Biar to two years in prison as the judge found him guilty of spying.

His lawyer, Ajak Mayol Bior, told reporters that his client was innocent and vowed to appeal the sentence. he further said the rule violates the constitutional right of freedom of expression.

During his interview from the Blue House with Voice of American Radio on 7 October 2018, the activist called on the government to negotiate with the detainees who organised the insurrection saying what they demand was to be tried or released.