There has been a shocking rise in the use of the death penalty in South Sudan, Amnesty has warned, after learning that the authorities executed as many people in February as were executed in the whole of last year.

At least seven people were executed last month, three of whom were from the same family.

South Sudan executed as many people last month as it did in whole of last yearSix of the victims were executed in Juba Central Prison, while at least one was executed in Wau Central Prison. Both prisons are equipped with gallows to carry out executions. All the victims were men.

The family of the three related men was not informed of their impending execution and only learnt of the death of their loved ones after they had been executed.

Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, said:

“We are shocked and dismayed that executions have become the order of the day in South Sudan. Rather than execute people, the authorities should rehabilitate prisoners and make them well-adjusted individuals that can contribute positively to society.

“This confirms our fears that South Sudan authorities have absolutely no respect for the right to life as they continue to totally disregard the fact that the world is moving away from the use of the death penalty.”

At least four of the seven executed men had been convicted of murder.

Amnesty has previously reported that in 2018, South Sudan executed more people than in any other year since its independence in 2011. These executions followed the transfer of at least 135 death row prisoners from county and state prisons to Wau Central Prison and Juba Central Prison.

South Sudan executes people by hanging. Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to execute the prisoner.