- They later picked him up in the night and drove with him to South Sudan, officials aware of the issue said.
- Unknown people had earlier on dismantled his communication gadgets at an apartment he lived with his family.
A vocal critic of South Sudan’s government has gone missing in Kenya after allegedly being abducted by men in police uniform in Nairobi.
Reports say Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak was deported to Juba, South Sudan, on the night of February 4, hours after his arrest from his Chokaa home.
A team of police who claimed they were from Anti Terror Police Unit first booked him at the local Hurlingham police post under OB number 19 at about 7 pm, saying he was under arrest for terror-related charges.
They later picked him up in the night and drove with him to South Sudan, officials aware of the issue said.
Unknown people had earlier dismantled his communication gadgets at an apartment he lived with his family.
Local media said he was extradited to face charges of “abusing government officials.”
The Dawn newspaper cited sources within South Sudan’s National Security Service.
On May 23, 2022, the South Sudanese National Police Service did a memo to the Interpol on the activist, saying he was wanted in criminal case No. 5445/2021 lodged at Northern Police Division- Juba, Charged under Sections 289/113/291 of SSPCA - 2008 for defamation and furnishing false information.
“The suspect is currently in Nairobi, Kenya. The Communication between INTERPOL offices in Juba and Nairobi led to the tracing of the suspect in Nairobi pending arrest and special extradition request by South Sudan's Director of Public Prosecutions through the diplomatic channel.”
“Therefore, NCB Juba is requesting you to forward the extradition letter to the Republic of Kenya through the diplomatic Channel,” read part of the memo.
It is not clear if the extradition channels were exploited to warrant the process.
His wife Angelina Marol told Sudans Post that her husband was arrested in Nairobi by men she said were in Kenyan police uniform.
“They came here at night and knocked on the door. We didn’t want to open it because they might turn out to be criminals and when we realized that they are police, we opened and then they arrested him without providing him with a warrant or anything,” she said.
“We have been asking about him and unfortunately we have learned that he has been taken to Juba where he is probably being kept at the Blue House (the National Security Service Headquarters) and we haven’t yet spoken to him,” she added.
Bak, a former oil company employee and father of 22 children, fled South Sudan for Kenya in April 2021. He had reportedly been receiving threats from officials and leaders from his home area of Tonj, in Warrap state, whom he criticized.
When he went missing in Nairobi, he was a refugee registered with Kenya’s Department of Refugee Affairs.
We were not able to get a comment from the refugee affairs department.
Human Rights Watch said Kenya, a party to the 1951 United Nations and 1969 African refugee conventions, has committed to upholding the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
“The principle of non-refoulment is the cornerstone of both conventions, prohibiting the forced return of refugees to a country where they would face threats to their lives or freedom on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”
“Countries hosting refugees and asylum seekers are also responsible for providing protection and ensuring their physical security,” HRW said.
The agency added should South Sudan wish to extradite someone, the extradition process should be legal and transparent, conducted before an independent and impartial court, and should comply with the principle of non-refoulment.
The agency said if Kenyan authorities were involved in Bak’s “disappearance,” and if they facilitated his forced return to South Sudan, Kenya would be violating its obligations toward refugees and undermining its regional image as a country that seeks to protect human rights.
“The authorities in both Kenya and South Sudan should come clean on the fate and whereabouts of Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak and end the anguish of his family.”
Amnesty International said it has documented numerous arbitrary detentions by the National Security Service (NSS) in multiple facilities where detainees are often subjected to torture and other ill-treatment – some held incommunicado without access to a lawyer, or family members.
“Amnesty International has reason to believe that Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak was forcefully returned to Juba, South Sudan, where he arrived on 5 or 6 February and was brought to a National Security Service (NSS) detention facility.”
“Detention without access to the outside world – incommunicado detention – facilitates torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance. In some circumstances, it can itself constitute torture and other ill-treatment,” the agency said.