Urgent call to stop all death sentences and executions in Botswana!

Press release

FIDH and its member organisation in Botswana, DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights wish to express their deep concern over the recent death sentence passed on Mr. Kedisaletse Tsobane who was found guilty of murdering his child. This sentence again raises the question of the willingness of the authorities of Botswana to create laws which are in accordance with international human rights standards and put an end to this inhuman practice [1] .

On 19th November 2007, the High Court sentenced Kedisaletse Tsobane to death in Gaborone, Botswana.
Kedisaletse Tsobane confessed to having murdered his daughter two years ago. Murder is a crime for which the penalty is death in accordance with the Penal Code.

Whatever the crime committed, this sentence is not acceptable since it violates the right to life and is generally pronounced after unfair trials, which means that innocents may be executed. In addition, the deterrent effect of death penalty has never been proven.

FIDH and DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights also condemn the recent hanging of death row inmate Sepeni Thubisane Popo, who was found guilty of a murder committed in 2004, a sentence which brought to 39 the number of executions held in Botswana since independence from Britain in 1966.

With this new execution, Botswana goes against the general trend worldwide towards the abolition of capital punishment. FIDH recalls the adoption, on 16 November 2007, by the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, of a resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty worldwide, with a view to abolishing the death penalty. This resolution was adopted by a wide majority of States, from all regions of the world.

FIDH and DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights once again express their opposition to the death penalty under any circumstances and anywhere. They recall that the death penalty contradicts the fundamental principle of human dignity proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that its abolition is the goal of many international human rights instruments.

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