Target: President Salva Kiir of South Sudan
Goal: Secure the unconditional and immediate release of Alfred Taban and uphold the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
In South Sudan, a journalist has been arrested for calling for the removal of President Salva Kiir and first Vice President Riek Machar, the leader of the rebel faction in South Sudan’s civil war. Veteran journalist Alfred Taban was taken into custody by state security forces after publishing an editorial calling for a change in leadership. This came as fighting and looting erupted between rival factions in the Sudanese capital, Juba, leaving hundreds dead.
In the editorial, Mr. Taban cites the fact that neither President Kiir, nor first Vice President Machar declared a ceasefire until hundreds had died. He used this as evidence that Machar and Kiir were either unable or unwilling to control those fighting for them. He neither made threats, nor did he call for violence. Mr. Taban simply exercised his basic human, and constitutional rights to freedom of speech and press. Sign our petition and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Alfred Taban.
Dear President Kiir,
I was dismayed to hear of the arrest of Alfred Taban. He is a veteran journalist, and a longtime champion of South Sudan and should not have been detained simply for stating his opinion. I urge you to do everything in your power to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Alfred Taban, ensuring that he is not subject to abuse and receives access to whatever medical care he requires.
Under section 24 of the constitution, Alfred Taban is guaranteed the right of freedom of expression in the media. His editorial did not incite or threaten violence, he simply stated an opinion. Furthemore, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are basic human rights. The continued detention of Mr. Taban can only undermine the international reputation of South Sudan. So again I urge you to secure Mr. Taban’s release.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Day Donaldson