The family of Morris Mabior Awikjok, a political and human rights activist, who was arrested from his home in Nairobi, Kenya in February and taken to Juba said they have not been able to access him.
Mabior who has been seeking asylum in Kenya since 2021 after a fallout with some government officials in South Sudan was arrested by armed men in police uniform and taken to an unknown location before being taken and detained in Juba.
A close relative who preferred anonymity told Radio Tamazuj that two weeks ago community members met Mabior’s wife in Juba and said that the National Security Services’ Internal Security Bureau Director General Akol Koor informed them that the investigation of Mabior had been completed and that the family could visit him in detention but that they have not been able to see him.
“Mabior’s wife has been going there for three days and nobody attended to her and that there was no communication. Last Friday she received a letter delivered by some security agents from the NSS headquarters and it said that Maurice (Mabior) is naked and needs some clothes,” he said. “It looks like a trap because any prisoner is provided with a prisoner uniform. Our first concern is just to see him but we think this as a trap.”
“There are claims that they do not want people to see him because he has been badly tortured,” he added.
The source also said that there were rumors that there are plans to sneak Mabior to Khartoum for treatment because he is in bad shape after repeated torture.
“That is why they have been keeping him and not allowing the family to visit him,” he said. “No one has seen him. One of his wives even had a miscarriage after Maurice was arrested.”
On whether they had retained a lawyer to defend Mabior, the family member said all the lawyers they contacted refused to take the case saying it was complicated.
“Most of the lawyers that we have contacted as a family told us that it is a complicated case and they do not want to endanger their lives,” he said. “Some lawyers accepted to pick the case up but later they changed their minds saying the case is sensitive.”
The family member appealed to the government to free Mabior if he is alive.
“We do not know if he is even alive or not. There is no assurance that he is actually alive but if he is alive, let them allow people to see him. If it is a big case, he can be tried. It has been two months and a half since he was arrested,” he said. “If it is a defamation case, he should be taken to court and if there is no case, he should be released immediately. They cannot keep him inside without trial. The family is traumatized and his kids are not going to school and everybody is just suffering. When you talk, you are threatened.”
He said Mabior’s family members have been abused and threatened on social media platforms.