Families seek President Kiir's pardon for 16 in Juba prison

Mr Jacob Munialo and his wife Terry Munialo look at their son Antony Keya Munialo's photograph. Keya is one of the four Kenyans jailed in South Sudan. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Families of 16 persons, who were jailed for life in South Sudan for fraud and money laundering, have petitioned President Salva Kiir to set free the convicts.

The 16, including four Kenyans, were charged and convicted of fraudulently acquiring $14 million from the office of the president in June last year.

In a joint petition letter to President Kiir, the families appealed to the leader to pardon and release their kin as part of his call to national dialogue and reconciliation.

In the letter, seen by the media in Juba, they say some of the prisoners are ill and need proper medical care.

John Awuoi, a father to one of the convicts, John Agou, said their appeal was in support of an April court ruling that had overturned the sentences and ordered for a retrial.

“[Why we] made our [petition] to the president was to [affirm] what the Court of Appeal has done to our people. Some of them are [very] sick and if they remain in the prison without treatment they may pass away,” Mr Awuoi told a local radio station.

Magdalena Awur Ajak, mother to Anyieth Chaat Paul, beg President Kiir to drop all the charges against the sixteen, saying the pardon would allow her daughter to "nurture her child the way we the parents have raised her."

The 16 include government employees working in the office of the president, a Central Bank official, and workers of Click Technologies. They were accused of forging documents bearing the president’s signature to secure financial approvals from the country’s central bank.

South Sudan is ranked among the top corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.

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