(New York) – Amnesty International USA Executive Director Suzanne Nossel made the following comments today in response to reports that the international hip hop artist and human rights advocate Emmanuel Jal had been seriously beaten by police in South Sudan:
“We’re shocked and alarmed by reports that Emmanuel Jal was seriously beaten by police. His account of an unprovoked attack, preceded by the seizure of his mobile phone, must be immediately investigated and all those responsible must be held accountable. We further call on the authorities to ensure that Jal is able to move freely and in safety while in South Sudan.
“Jal has been a dedicated advocate for peace and security in the region for years. His early years as a child soldier had made him extraordinarily credible as an advocate to prevent the use of children as soldiers worldwide to support the establishment of a global arms trade treaty and to defend human rights.”
According to news reports, Jal was stopped by police, who took his mobile phone. Five officers beat him for five minutes until he eventually lost consciousness.
Jal, a native of Sudan, was in Juba to highlight International Peace Day with a “We Want Peace” gala and concert on September 20 and 21.
Jal has worked with Amnesty International USA on several music and video projects to build awareness of human rights abuses in Sudan and worldwide.
Update: Amnesty International is currently working to confirm details of the incident
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.