Executions Stepped Up in War-Torn South Sudan, Amnesty Says

(Bloomberg) -- South Sudan is stepping up its use of executions, hanging seven people in the first two months of 2019, the same number subjected to the death penalty all of last year, Amnesty International said.

Six were executed at a prison in the capital, Juba, and at least one other was in Wau, in the country’s northwest, the London-based advocacy group said Friday in a statement. Four had been convicted of murder, while three belonged to the same family and their executions were “shrouded in secrecy,” with relatives only being informed after their deaths.

“This confirms our fears that South Sudan authorities have absolutely no respect for the right to life as they continue to totally disregard the fact that the world is moving away from use of the death penalty,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty’s deputy director for East Africa.

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest country, is trying to emerge from a five-year civil war that may have claimed almost 400,000 lives. Amnesty declined to give more information about the executions. Government spokesmen didn’t answer multiple calls seeking comment.

In December, Amnesty said South Sudan had executed more people that year than in any other since it gained independence in July 2011. Other offenses carrying the death penalty in the country include treason, bearing false witness leading to an innocent person’s execution, and terrorism, banditry, insurgency or sabotage that results in fatalities.

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