Activist and government critic Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak. (File photo)

Activist Morris Mabior’s case adjourned again

The Juba County Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a defamation case against Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, an activist and government critic, has been adjourned for another 20 days.

The Juba County Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a defamation case against Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, an activist and government critic, has been adjourned for another 20 days.

On April 24, the National Security Service’s (NSS) Internal Security Bureau (ISB) brought Mabior before a county court in Juba to face charges of criminal defamation against ISB Director General Gen. Akol Koor but the hearing was deferred.

Mabior, a former refugee in Kenya, was forcibly abducted on 4 February 2023 in Nairobi and returned to South Sudan where he has since been detained by the National security which refused to acknowledge that they were holding him until he was suddenly produced in court.

Kiir Chol Deng, the activist’s defense lawyer, told Radio Tamazuj that the presiding judge has been assigned another duty for 20 days so they are seeking other legal alternatives to ensure his client receives justice.

“The judge has been assigned to a mobile court in Bentiu for 20 days and now we are considering some options, whether to wait or take another legal step because the guy has been in detention for one year and four months and cannot wait for a judge that has gone for 20 days,” he said. “On 24 April, we appeared on his behalf and the presiding judge told us that the accused is being tried over a defamation case that was filed by Gen Akol Koor.”

Chol said his client disappeared in Nairobi on 4 February 2023 and was produced under the escort of National Security soldiers in Juba County Court on defamation charges on 16 April 2024.

He clarified that Mabior had been bailed but that National Security was holding him incommunicado and questioned why his client was still being detained in inhumane conditions.

“The judge told us the accused had been bailed out and we asked him why the accused is still being detained and being escorted by the National Security. Why is he still being held by the National Security?” Chol asked, and added: “We had to file a criminal motion on 29 April 2024 to the Ministry of Justice in its capacity as the Chief Legal Advisor to the government and the prosecuting authority in this country.”

“We want the justice ministry to question the head of legal administration in the National Security why the accused remains in jail although he was bailed out the national security is still keeping him in detention for almost one year and four months,” he added.

Chol said his team is still waiting for the Ministry of Justice to tell them on what legal grounds Mabior is being detained by National Security.