Amnesty International has as added its voice to growing criticism by human rights activists condemning death penalty following the execution of double murder convict, Joseph Tselayarona recently.
Responding to reports that Tselayarona was hanged for the 2010 murder of his girlfriend and three-year-old son, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, said
Tslelayarona’s execution is a step back for Botswana and it shows the government’s contempt for life.
“Joseph’s execution is a step back for Botswana and it shows the government’s contempt for life. The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.
“While many countries in the region are moving away from this cruel form of punishment, Botswana is regressing,” said Muchena.
“The death penalty has no place in the modern era. Instead of executing people, the government of Botswana should immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this cruel and inhuman punishment,” he said.
Amnesty International said it opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.
“The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Amnesty International calls on Botswana to abolish the death penalty for all crimes as have 105 countries in the world,” said international rights group.
Following the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Ngwanyanaotsile Keikanne and her 3-year-old son Miguel in 2010, Tselayarona was convicted by a Gaborone High Court in March last year for the offences. He was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for the murder of his girlfriend and handed a death penalty for the murder of the son. He later appealed the judgement but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on November 23rd last year.
The Delegation of the European Union to Botswana & SADC also slammed Botswana’s stance on death penalty saying the use of capital punishment, which can never be justified.
In a statement the EU said the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment.“There is no evidence that it has a better deterrent effect than imprisonment, and judicial and other errors in its application are irrevocable and irreversible, which is why most of the countries in the world have stopped applying it. We call on Botswana to initiate a public debate on its use of the death penalty, as the government of Botswana has already agreed in the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council,” the statement said.
The execution of Tselayarona followed President Khama’s remarks recently that he supported the death penalty.
Khama reportedly said the death penalty remains a solution to curb the growing incidents of murder that have overwhelmed the country in recent years.