Govt to Reconsider Execution of Prisoners

| June 15, 2015

Permanents Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security Ms Seagakweng Tsiane says she is not in a position to give details on whether the government would replace the current exercise of executing capital punishment on condemned prisoners.

Responding to questions raised by member of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Dithapelo Keorapetse, recently while presenting before the committee, Ms Tsiane said government is currently assessing an array of issues concerning pre and post hanging of a prisoner sentenced to death.

Ms Tsiane told the committee that she was however not comfortable to speak about the issue because both local and international human rights organisations had in several occasions raised similar issues regarding the method of killing the condemned prisoner and role of prison officers in the death penalty.

However, the commander of Botswana Prison Service Col. Silas Motlalekgosi said there is both pre and post counselling on prison officers who carry out the execution of the prisoners. Another member of the committee Mr Guma Moyo had asked whether there is any counselling on officers who carry out the execution of the prisoners and whether that counselling is extended to the officer who signs the death warrant of the prisoners.

Mr Keorapetse had on the other hand asked Ms Tsiane whether it is not opportune enough to consider replacing administering death by hanging with the administration of a lethal injection as it seem to be more humane.

Mr Keorapetse had also wanted to know if the ministry does not consider making the whole process of executing a condemned prisoner transparent as much as possible just like in other countries where the sentenced prisoner and the victim’s families as well as the media were informed of the execution day and were invited to attend the exercise.

Mr Keorapetse had further asked whether it is not time for prison authorities to hand over the lifeless body of the executed prisoner to his or her family for home.

Meanwhile Ms Tsiane said the provision of free ARV to deserving foreign prison inmates is an issue still before the court of law and as such she was not free to respond on it. She however said at the moment there are 21 foreign prisoners who are getting ARV from various sources. They are also 90 foreign inmates who have tested positive during voluntary testing for HIV.

On other issues Ms Tsiane said the ministry is working on National Security Policy and that the task is handled with other stakeholders.

She said, the ministry is currently engaging with Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) to provide accommodation for Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service (BPS) and Botswana prisons staff.

In the meantime she told the committee that she is not aware of any “Shot to kill policy” on poachers. She therefore said what she understands is that soldiers deployed in anti-poaching mission endeavor to apprehend poachers.

She therefore said there was no tension between the two countries of Botswana and Namibia regarding recent shootings of some supposedly Namibian poachers in the country more especially that the two countries have Joint Permanent Commission on Security and always discuss issues together.

MP Kostantinos Markus had warned that shooting on Namibian poachers without arresting them law could spark tensions between the two countries and that it could also spell doom for Batswana visiting Namibia especially in the forested areas, as they could be shot and killed.


Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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