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Botswana defies outcry to execute murderer

In 2017, Mooketsi Kgosibodiba received a death sentence for the 2012 murder of his employer and his appeal was dismissed last year.

FILE: In 2017, Mooketsi Kgosibodiba received a death sentence for the 2012 murder of his employer and his appeal was dismissed last year. Picture: Pixabay.com

GABORONE - Botswana on Monday hanged a 44-year-old man for murdering his boss, prisons services announced, despite mounting criticism from rights groups and the European Union.

Mooketsi Kgosibodiba was hanged at Gaborone Central Prison "in the early morning hours", the prison said, in the first execution since President Mokgweetsi Masisi was elected to office in October.

In 2017, Kgosibodiba received a death sentence for the 2012 murder of his employer and his appeal was dismissed last year.

Two other people were hanged last year in the face of global condemnation, Amnesty International describing Botswana as the "only country in Southern Africa that consistently executes people".

"There is no space for the death penalty in a country like Botswana," said Amnesty International's Deprose Muchena after Masisi's election.

Muchena praised Botswana's "great leadership role" in "denouncing impunity for human rights violations on the African continent" and encouraged the new government to change course on executions.

Masisi's predecessor Ian Khama said last year that the death penalty was one tool to combat a rising murder rate and added that the government had "no plans to either abolish the death penalty or impose a moratorium".

Executions across the world dropped by almost one-third in 2018 to the lowest figure in a decade, said Amnesty.

The death penalty in Botswana has been enforced since independence in 1966.

Amnesty says executions are often undertaken without prior notice - with even family members of the condemned notified only after the execution.

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