Botswana Human Rights Organisation (Ditshwanelo) Public Relations Officer, Thuto Galeitsiwe, says that his organisation is happy that South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, confirmed the ruling by a lower court that Jerry Phale, who is wanted in Botswana for murder charges, cannot be extradited as he faces the death penalty, if convicted.
“We are happy about this decision as our organisation has always been against death penalty and this sentence in our view will bring light to the message we have always been preaching about; the need to abolish death penalty as it is not a deterrent,” he said.
However, Galeitsiwe says that they still wish for a long term solution to the problem.
He said the two countries should find a lasting solution to the problem.
“Our wish is that an amicable solution is found to the problem by authorities in the two countries,” he said.
Jerry Phale is alleged to have murdered his girlfriend in Botswana before skipping into South Africa. After Botswana sought his extradition, the South African government demanded a written guarantee that suspects facing death penalty if convicted will not be sentenced to death if convicted.
Botswana, on the other hand, has refused to give such a guarantee.
Another Motswana who was wanted on allegations that he murdered his partner and skipped into South Africa, Emmanuel Tsebe, recently passed away whilst still on the run in South Africa.
It is not the first time that South Africa, which abolished the death sentence soon after it became democratic, got involved in a diplomatic row with Botswana for refusing to hand over murder convicts.