Kuel Aguer Kuel is flanked by relatives upon his release from prison on Friday, December 9, 2022 | Credit | Courtesy
The former governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Kuel Aguer, has encouraged citizens to always speak out against poor governance in the country nomatter the consequences.
Kuel was released from prison on Friday after a high court in Juba dropped all charges against him.
He was arrested on August 2, 2021 by the National Security Service (NSS) for co-founding and signing several declarations by the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA).
The coalition, an umbrella group of reform activists, called for peaceful protests on August 30 to force the government to step down over “failed leadership”.
As a result, the authorities arrested and harassed other real or perceived members of the coalition, including by freezing their bank accounts, causing some of them to flee to exile.
Kuel was then charged with offenses, including subverting constitutional government; insurgency, banditry, sabotage, or terrorism; causing disaffection among police force or defence forces; publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to Southern Sudan; and undermining the authority of or insulting the president.
After spending two-and-a-half months at the NSS detention facility, commonly known as Blue House, Kuel was transferred to Juba Central Prison.
Upon his release, he told Akol Yam 91 FM via phone that “If anything is not done the right way, we have to say the truth.”
“We should not keep quiet. We must keep telling the people in authority to correct any wrong move they make,” Kuel said.
Advocacy groups such as Transparency International and The Sentry have been releasing reports that suggest the Kiir administration is involved in grand corruption, neglecting infrastructural development.
This happens despite the fact that it has received billions of dollars in oil revenue and financial aid.
While in detention, his family said the authorities had made it almost impossible to visit, even when his health situation had worsened.
But he said he had forgiven those who might have hurt him, including people who brought the false charges against him.
The members of PCA, who evaded arrest, are still in exile. They include Wani Michael, an activist; and Abraham Awolic, a researcher at the think tank, The Sudd Institute.