South Sudan pardons SA mercenary from death sentence

William Endley, an ex-defence force colonel, was sentenced to death in February for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government.

William Endley. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - The family of a South African mercenary who was sitting on death row in South Sudan has welcomed the news of his pardon and release.

William Endley, an ex-defence force colonel, was sentenced to death in February for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir announced Endley's release on Tuesday during national peace celebrations.

Endley was expected to be released on Thursday.

His daughter Gweneth says the last two years have been very difficult for the family.

“It’s been torture and nobody has been sleeping. It’s been a nightmare for everyone. We are ecstatic, it’s like a dream come true. Three years later the shackles have been removed off his legs [and] he’s now a free man. There’s no way to explain it.”

Meanwhile, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has urged all South Africans working abroad to respect the laws of their host countries.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)