SOUTH SUDAN – 15 years old sentenced to death – Save Alphonse Kenyi Makwach

Alphonse Kenyi Makwach

His story
The young Alphonse has been detained since 2010 in the death row of Juba prison, the capital of the new African state of South Sudan. He is charged with multiple murder committed at a time he was deemed to belong to a juvenile gang, called niggers.
His family, from the village of Kalitok, 85 km away from Juba, is extremely poor. Alphonse was the sixth among seven brothers and the only one who could attend the school in a college for two years.
His parents could work only occasionally and they could not afford educational programs for their sons.
In 2008 Alphonse’s family moved to the capital so that his father, who was sick, could get better medical treatment. Alphonse began to sell used plastic bottles, which he collected along the streets. In 2009, the boy was arrested in his house after a shooting which left some victims on the ground. Mild circumstantial proofs led to him, but there was no real evidence of his guiltiness.
Alphonse has repeatedly said that he had been forced with beatings by policemen to admit a murder he did not commit at all. During the summary trial, without any legal defence, Alphonse stubbornly swore his innocence. Anyway, he was sent to prison.
There he was beaten, tortured in order to extort from him an official confession. He kept declaring his innocence.
In January 2010, the minimum age to be sentenced to death in Sudan was risen from 15 to 18 years. Alphonse was just 14 when he got the capital sentence in October of that same year. At the moment his case is pending before the Supreme Court.
Inside the Juba’s death row there are now nine juveniles like Alphonse.
The appeal to save Alphonse
The Community of Sant’Egidio urges everybody to share its appeal aiming to spare Alphonse’s life from the execution, sending the following statement to the competent authorities of South Sudan by e-mail.
To the Supreme Court of South Sudan through H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin
 Your Excellencies
I am writing to express my deep concern over a ruling that sentenced to death the young Alphonse Kenyi Makwach, despite the law of South Sudan forbids by now the infliction of capital sentences to juveniles, a summary trial without any legal defence which the boy was submitted to, his not listened denounce of suffered tortures he received from the policemen during his interrogation aiming to extort a tainted confession from him, and his reiterated declarations pleading his absolute innocence.
I urge you to intervene on his behalf to prevent this cruel and inhuman punishment from being meted out against him.
I implore you to ensure that this cruel and inhuman sentence is not carried out.
Respectfully yours
(signature and date)

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