Arusha, 12th March 2024: Today, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) scheduled a hearing for the application for interim orders under a certificate of urgency in the case of Mr. Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, who was arbitrarily detained in Kenya and illegally deported to South Sudan. PALU sought the following orders:

1. Provide the Court with precise and credible information as to the exact whereabouts of the subject, Mr. Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak
2. Provide assurance to the Court that the two respondent governments will immediately allow Morris’
family, friends, associates, doctors and lawyers to access him;
3. Provide the Court with the reasons for the arrest and continued detention of Morris.

A year since the application was filed, during the inter-party hearing, following a request by the counsel for the first respondent for an adjournment to a later date due to claims of not receiving documents from the applicant in due time, despite evidence submitted to the court by the applicant, the EACJ ordered the adjournment, with the parties agreeing on specific dates for each party to file their pleadings and submissions. It was further agreed to proceed in an expedited manner to avoid further delays, in the interest of justice. The dates of the re-scheduled hearing with be communicates by the EACJ Registry.

Background of the Case
On 24th February 2023, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) applied for urgent Interim Orders at the First Instance Division against the Governments of Kenya and South Sudan, regarding the arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and enforced disappearance of Mr. Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, who was abducted from his apartment in Chokaa, Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday 4th February 2023.

According to eyewitness accounts, Kenyan and South Sudanese Security and Immigration officials were complicit in his abduction. It is further believed that either on Sunday 5th or Monday 6th February 2023, Morris was illegally deported to Juba, South Sudan, and that to date, he remains arbitrarily detained and incommunicado at the headquarters of the South Sudan National Security Service (NSS), also known as the ‘Blue House’. His family, friends and associates are and remain extremely concerned that his life may be in danger or that he may be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. To date, he has not been brought before the court in accordance with his fair trial rights.

Signed and released in Arusha, Tanzania on Tuesday 12th March 2024
Donald Deya
Chief Executive Officer – Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) Tel: +255 685 078 794
Cell: +255 787 066 888
E-mail: secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org

Notes to Editors
Mr. Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak is South Sudanese, a former civil servant and a strong critic of several officials and institutions within the current Government of South Sudan. he has consistently complained about the lack of democracy, good governance or rule of law; and against rampant corruption and violations of human and peoples’ rights perpetrated by the South Sudan Government. Morris has openly criticized and accused numerous individuals in the South Sudan Government including General Akol Koor Kuc who is the Director- General (DG) of the Internal Security Bureau (ISB) of the National Security Service (NSS) of carrying out various criminal activities, including corruption as well as arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial execution of South Sudanese citizens within the country and abroad. Following credible threats by the NSS, Morris fled South Sudan in April 2021 and settled in Nairobi, Kenya where he has resided since.

The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) is a continental membership forum for African lawyers and lawyers’ associations. PALU was founded in 2002, by African Bar leaders and eminent lawyers, to reflect the aspirations and concerns of the African people, and to promote and defend their shared interests. It brings together the continent’s five regional lawyers’ associations, over fifty-four national lawyers’ associations and over 1,000 individual lawyers. It is a prominent litigant at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the East African Court of Justice, both based in Arusha, Tanzania

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