A member of South Sudan’s transitional parliament has said that he was detained and beaten last week by government soldiers who accused the law-making institution of sitting on their salaries.
Okello Odongtoo Lawiri, a member of Council of States representing Eastern Equatoria State, said he was arrested by members of police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and military intelligence (MI) on July 3 for possession of dollars and then beaten after they learned he is a member of parliament.
“On the 3rd of this month I (was violently) attacked, humiliated, beaten up and stripped naked and dragged to the sector and detained by the security forces in Hai Referendum sector 3 detachment on the basis of possessing USD,” he said.
“The CID and the Military Intelligent agencies broke my Identification card and ordered that I should be beaten up properly after they learned that I was a Member of Parliament claiming that ‘the parliament have been sitting on their budget’ this however, increased the aggressions and vented their anger and frustrations on me,” he added.
The lawmaker said that his car was searched and then ordered to surrender anything in his possessions and the soldiers threatened to shoot a legal advisor who had come to the detention center to secure the lawmaker’s release.
“My car was searched, and I was ordered to surrender everything in my possessions including money which to me it was a grave violation of my rights and the constitution of this country, in light of the above, there is some serious continuous harassments by the security organs and the traffic police on the roads leading to the parliament,” he said.
He said that as a lawmaker, he has “immunity covered by the constitution and the parliamentary conduct of Business regulations which should be respected by the law enforcement agencies. In case of any misunderstanding or misconduct from me, there are always channels of communication and avenues of accountability since no one is above the Law.”
“The menace even got exacerbated when the legal Advisor arrived at the station to secure my release, a soldier threatened to shoot him should he allowed my release from their custody.
“The assault on MPs has been on the increase and this should be look into by the leadership of the organized forces before it may heighten into another desecrations and attacks on parliament as an institution in near future.
“To set the record conventional, the parliament does not make any National Budget as the public and the organized forces are purporting to believes but rather the executives branch of Government.”