JUBA – Detained South Sudanese journalist, Diing Magot, has been granted bail by police authorities, but is still being held at Juba Central Prison where she was transferred to following a night at a police station in Malikia, the President of Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Oyet Patrick said.
Diing who works for the Voice of America was arrested on August 7 at Konyokonyo market while covering a mini protest by local youths demanding government intervention to address rising costs of fuel and essential commodities in the market.
She was being held at a police station in Malikia alongside six demonstrators, one of whom was shot in the leg during the protest, before she was transferred to Juba prison on Monday.
Speaking to Sudans Post on Saturday, Patrick said Journalist Diing has been granted the so-called ‘ordinary bail’, which is otherwise a bail without condition, but said she hasn’t yet been released.
“Diing was granted ‘ordinary bail’ meaning she is not supposed to pay any money to get out of police custody, in other words it is bail without condition. However, we could not get her out [of detention] today,” Patrick said.
The head of the journalists’ body said the VOA reporter “is physically in Juba Central Prison but legally she is in Malakia police station because she is in Juba Central Prison on instruction of Malakia Police Station so, now that bail is granted, that bail should be taken to Malakia police station.”
He said that the journalists’ body took the bail letter to the administration of the Malakia police station where she was initially detained in order to write a letter Juba Central Prison for her return to Malikia but couldn’t fine the police general who is supposed to do that, and as such her release was pushed to Monday.
“We took the ‘grant of bail letter’ to Malakia Police Station, now the station has to write a letter to Juba Central Prison to send Diing back to Malakia Police Station where she is supposed to be set free but the General on charge of Malakia police station who is supposed to write the letter was not in the office,” he said.
“We called his known phone numbers, they were off, we tried to locate him but we failed so, Diing will be released once the General writes to Juba Central Prison, we believe this will happen on Monday,” Patrick further added.
In a statement, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Edmund Yakani, called for Diing’s unconditional release saying that she shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place because she was doing her job.
“CEPO calls for the unconditional release of Journalist Diing Magot since she is a journalist preforming her legitimate role. It is good that police leadership granted her a bail today and I hope that on Sunday she will be release officially and set free unconditionally,” said the statement signed by Yakani.
The outspoken activist further stressed that “Freedom of expression is central in the national democratic transformation from violence to peace in South Sudan.”