Whereabouts of journalist and human rights defender unknown amidst ongoing intimidatory campaign against journalists in the country

By Front Line Defenders

August 28, 2015 (SSNA) — Approximately three weeks since he was arbitrarily detained by South Sudanese security forces on 6 August 2015, the whereabouts of human rights defender Mr Clement Lochio Lomornana are unknown.

He was reportedly last seen on 15 August 2015 being forced in a military vehicle.

Clement Lochio Lomornana is a prominent journalist and a strong voice in the defence of media rights and freedom of speech in Africa. The journalist has been working for a radio and internet news service called Gurtong Media for approximately 6 years and has been very vocal about the civil war and subsequent peace talks to end the 20-month conflict in the country. Clement Lochio Lomornana has been targeted a number of occasions in the past months as a result of his work.

On 6 August 2015, Clement Lochio Lormanawas detained by South Sudanese security forces in Chukudum, Budi County, along with two friends, brothers Amin Venansio andNailo Venansio. They were taken from their huts in the middle of the night and brought to a military barracks, where torture was reportedly used to force them to confess to crimes which they did not commit. Amin and Nailo Venansio were allowed to receive visits from their family, while Clement Lochio Lormana was not.

On August 15, Clement Lochio Lormana and Nailo Venansio were reportedly last seen being forced into a military vehicle. Since then, there has been no information on their whereabouts.

However, authorities in South Sudan have officially denied that they have arrested Clement Lochio Lormana.

In the months prior to Clement Lormana’s detention, he had been subjected to a number of serious acts of intimidation and attempted attacks. He reported being followed in Juba on several occasions, and he had received several death threats. After sharing his concerns with family and friends, the human rights defender decided to leave South Sudan for a period of time and go into hiding in Uganda and Kenya. He decided to return in early August.

Journalists and those who are critical of the government have suffered ongoing persecution and harassment in South Sudan. In this context, journalist Peter Moi was shot dead on 20 August 2015, the 7^th journalist killed in South Sudan in 2015. This occurred justthree days after President Salva Kiir threatened to kill reporters who "work against the country."

Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern at the arbitrary detention and unknown whereabouts of Clement Lochio Lormana, particularly in light of harassment against him and other journalists. Front Line Defenders remains gravely concerned for his physical and psychological integrity and believes that his detention and disappearance are directly linked to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in South Sudan to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Clement Lochio Lormana,as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful human rights work;

2. Allow Clement Lochio Lormana immediate and unfettered access to his family and lawyers, and ensure that his treatment, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment’, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Clement Lochio Lormana and other journalists in the country;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in South Sudan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

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