Advocate Wani Santino Jada (courtesy photo)

Defense lawyer ‘intimidated’ over Kalisto’s case at regional court

The lawyer of Pan African Law Chamber, currently suing the government at the East African court over the detention of former Juba mayor Kalisto Ladu, said security personnel have intimidated him and asked him to drop the case.

The lawyer of Pan African Law Chamber, currently suing the South Sudan government at the East African Court of Justice over the detention of former Juba mayor Kalisto Ladu, said security personnel have harassed and intimidated him and asked him to drop the case.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj Tuesday afternoon, Lawyer Wani Santino Jada said two security agents with pistols came to his office in Juba on 24 April and asked him not to proceed with Kalisto’s case at the regional court.

“The two security officers with pistols came to my office on 24 April and asked to meet me. During our discussion, they told me that there were orders from above that I should refrain from pursuing the case, and I felt harassed and intimidated. I could also see their faces changed during our conversation on the issue,” he said.

“When I asked them if the order came from the Director General of the Internal Bureau of the National Security Service or his deputy, they said we are not here to discuss the issue; we are here just to inform you that you should back off from this case,” he added. 

When asked if he fears for his security and life in Juba, Lawyer Wani said: “I don’t fear for my security, but my message to National Security is that let them be professional. Let them produce any person in their detention centre to competent courts based on our laws. The National Security’s job is to collect information, and the police is the only agency that should have powers of arrest.”

“Also, arresting Kalisto at night in front of his children was not good. It was against the law and his privacy—our constitution talks about privacy and personal rights. Arrests are supposed to be made at daytime, not at night. So I will go ahead with the case, and I don’t fear because we are in a country that should be governed by law,” he stressed. 

Wani further said, based on records of the habits of kidnappings and forced disappearances in South Sudan, the Pan African Law Chamber wrote a letter of complaint dated 26 April to the East African Court of Justice, South Sudan’s Ministry of Justice and the South Sudan Bar Association informing them about the National Security’s threats over Kalisto’s case.

“Based on several records of the habits of kidnappings, killings, forced disappearances, and torture of citizens by the respondent security agents, we, therefore, seek the intervention of the Court to direct the Attorney General of the Republic of South Sudan to inform the NSS [National Security Service] to refrain and be restrain from harassing and intimidating Advocate Wani Santino Jada from executing his mandate as an advocate,” party reads the letter seen by Radio Tamazuj.

The law firm implored the regional court to strongly condemn “this unconstitutional behaviour of the South Sudan National Security agents.”

Security agents violently arrested Kalisto Lodu, a former mayor of Juba City Council, on 30 March from his home in Juba, according to his wife and relatives.  

According to several sources, Kalisto is being held in the Blue House by the National Security Service in Juba. His arrest came after he spoke against land-grabbing and criticized the country’s leadership for mismanagement of resources.

South Sudan’s constitution requires detainees to be produced before a court within 24 hours. Despite this, authorities routinely detain suspects for long periods, including during investigations and subsequent trials.

The National Security Service law gives agents broad powers to arrest and detain citizens without a warrant or charge.