Amnesty International Canada

Magai Matiop Ngong



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Urge South Sudan to cancel Magai's death sentence!

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Magai Matiop Ngong was just fifteen when he was sentenced to death in South Sudan. Tell the government to commute his sentence and stop using the death penalty against children.

Before his life changed forever, Magai loved running and gospel singing. He was in secondary school and had ambitions to help people when he grew up. Now, Magai lives in prison, and spends every day living in fear of execution for something that happened when he was fifteen.

According to his testimony in court, Magai had fired his father’s gun at the ground to ward off his cousin who was trying to stop him fighting with another boy in his neighbourhood. The bullet ricocheted and hit his cousin, who later died in hospital. Magai faced trial for murder without a lawyer. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

Our research shows that the death penalty is disproportionately used against poor and disadvantaged people. According to international law, and South Sudanese law, sentencing a child to death is illegal.

Last year Magai was finally given access to a lawyer who has helped him file an appeal. He finally has a chance to turn things around. 

“My hope is to be out and to continue with my school.” – Magai

Sign this petition and demand that:

  • The death sentence of Magai Matiop Ngong is commuted, taking into account the fact that he is a child

  • The government commit to stop using the death penalty against people below the age of 18 at the time of the crime, in line with South Sudan and international human rights law.

Call on South Sudan to cancel Magai's death sentence!

Read the petition letter below

To: Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Sudan to the United Nations

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing in concern for Magai Matioy Ngong, a 17-year-old on death row in South Sudan. He was 15 years old when he was convicted of the murder of his cousin and sentenced to death by hanging. During his trial, Magai told the judge that he was only 15 years old at the time of the crime and that his cousin’s death was an accident. Magai did not have a lawyer during his trial.

Anyone below 18 years of age at the time they were involved in a crime, must not be sentenced to death, let alone be executed. How old they are at the time of trial or sentencing is not relevant. The use of the death penalty against people like Magai is strictly prohibited by Section 21(2) the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 and under international human rights law (Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of a Child, to which South Sudan is a party.

Last year, seven people were hanged in South Sudan: one of them, like Magai, was just a child. This must stop and Magai’s death sentence must be cancelled.

Yours Sincerely,

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