August 3, 2016 - Updated on August 5, 2016

South Sudan: UN radio reporter held incommunicado for nearly two years

Credit: Radio Miraya/George Livio
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns UN radio journalist George Livio’s illegal detention for nearly two years in Juba and calls on the South Sudanese authorities to formally notify Livio of the charges against him so that he can obtain due process.

A reporter for Radio Miraya, a radio station operated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), George Livio is being held incommunicado at the Juba headquarters of South Sudan’s intelligence agency. He has not been formally charged and has not been able to see a lawyer or relatives since his arrest. Only UNMISS representatives have been able to visit him.

RSF points out that, by holding Livio incommunicado and arbitrarily, the authorities are violating article 64 of South Sudan’s code of criminal procedure, which says: “A person arrested by the police as part of an investigation, may be held in detention, for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours for the purposes of investigation.”

“These two years of unwarranted imprisonment constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” RSF said. “We demand that the South Sudanese authorities notify Livio of the charges against him so that he can obtain due process.”

RSF is meanwhile relieved to learn that Juba Monitor editor Alfred Taban was released on 29 July after being held for 13 days in connection with the publication of a communiqué calling on all parties to the conflict to face up to their responsibilities.

Taban has been charged with “publishing or communicating false information to Southern Sudan” and “undermining the authority of or insulting the president” under articles 75 and 76 of the 2008 Penal Code Act.

The situation in South Sudan has worsened in recent weeks, exposing journalists and human rights defenders to even greater dangers.

South Sudan has fallen 26 places in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index since the start of the conflict and is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the 2016 Index.

For more information about media freedom in South Sudan, click here.