Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Petition for release of Agou John Wuoi from prison

Open letter to South Sudan President Salva Kiir

Your Excellency,

Kindly please permit me to take this rare opportunity to appreciate you for every effort you have made toward making South Sudan a better country, notwithstanding many challenges. I know you face many difficulties, emanating both at domestic and international levels. It is not easy to build a nation from scratch.

South Sudanese businessman, John Agou Wuoi (courtesy photo)
South Sudanese businessman, John Agou Wuoi (courtesy photo)
That is why, despite these challenges, those of us who know what you are going through must appreciate your efforts and determination, especially in relation to the search for peace and national unity. These efforts will bring about a sense of national political renewal, in keeping with the spirit of the liberation struggle to which you had dedicated the prime of your life. You are, indisputably, an eternal national hero.

The principal intent for writing this petition letter to you is, however, to bring to Your Excellency’s attention the situation facing my brother, Agou John Wuoi. Your recent decision to pardon 9 prisoners who were accused and convicted of the same offense of corruption relating to the loss of public money from your office, in June of 2016 truly, is laudable. This pardon is part of your efforts towards national political renewal for which I personally, just like many others, applaud you.

Nevertheless, conspicuously absent from among the list of the beneficiaries of the recent presidential pardon was my brother Agou. There was no explanation as to why he was not among the 9 prisoners who received the pardon and yet were co-accused of the same offense. A reasonable observer would argue that my brother has been treated unfairly and unjustly, for he would not have committed the alleged offense alone but for the alleged participation of the other co-convicts.

That is, if others who were accused of the same offense can receive presidential pardon, it stands to reason that my brother should equally have been pardoned. This was not the case.

I am, therefore, calling on your immediate attention to the dire situation my brother is in. My brother Agou is seriously sick as he suffers from chronic illnesses and he has been recommended by doctors for further medical treatment and management which are not possible within prison environment. He is languishing behind bars when he should have been released alongside his co-convicts.

A Presidential Pardon is a prerogative of your office. It is a discretion constitutional bestowed upon you as president. It is not a legal right. Yet when you, Your Excellency, exercise this discretion, there is every reason to believe that this authority or discretion should be exercised fairly and even-handedly.

Against this backdrop, I am writing to appeal to Your Excellency on behalf of my brother and family as a whole for the release of my brother who has spent the last three years in miserable jail conditions in Juba. As a family, we were taken aback when the news broke that Your Excellency pardoned everyone else but my brother.

Everyone who was allegedly complicit or perpetrated the alleged offense was pardoned but not Agou. Logically, everyone should have either been pardoned or none at all. We humbly believe that there should be no apportioning of blameworthiness in this respect. I, therefore, send you this humble petition letter with both a heavy heart (because of the excruciating experience my brother is in) and hopefulness that you may find a place in Your Excellency’s heart to change your mind, by according to my brother a similar treatment as that which other prisoners have received.

Our family has been going through very tough times. We, however, still believe in your judgment as our hero and President. Leaving my brother behind bars for the same offense that others have been pardoned would appear like a form of selective justice.

Your Excellency, if even bandits who have killed countless number of people have benefited from your presidential pardon and countless number of corrupt politicians who have embezzled billions of dollars from the national coffers are free, couldn’t your kindly please find a place in your heart to exercise your prerogative with mercy towards my brother? The unjust and unfair treatment that my brother has received can only be remedied by your discretion. We submit that whatever he was convicted of is inexcusable under the law. Yet this is excusable by means of your prerogative. We believe that he has already paid, and way too much, for it.

This situation has caused him, his young family (wife and a four year old son), parents and siblings considerable mental anguish, confusion and misery. He has been separated from his child, wife and family for far too long. It is against this background that I submit this petition letter to Your Excellency, having been known for your care and compassion, to request for your kind intervention to forgive my brother on behalf of our family.

Looking forward to hearing from Your Excellency.

Yours Sincerely,

Elizabeth Yom John Wuoi

Yom a sister of John Agou Wuoi is Masters Student in Ontario, Canada. She can be reached on: [email protected]