Monday, January 30, 2023

EU slams Botswana over execution of death row inmate Poloko

The European Union Heads of Mission in Botswana has  slammed  Botswana’ decision to execute death row inmate Uyapo Poloko, on 25 May 2018.

In a statement issued by spokesperson Bester Gabotlale, the European Union reaffirmed its strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances.

The statement states that “We continue to 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 in January of this year.”
The EU said the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to deter criminal behaviour and which represents a grave denial of human dignity and integrity.

“Any miscarriage of justice ÔÇô which is inevitable in any legal system ÔÇôis irreversible. The African Continent has joined the growing trend towards abolition of the death penalty worldwide with 80% of the members of the African Union having already abolished the death penalty in law or in practice,” said EU.  

Defence Justice and Security Minister Shaw Kgathi said the European Union should learn that Botswana is not a copy cat, does not take its cue from any external force and does things in the best interest of Batswana. Kgathi told Sunday Standard in a previous interview that the EU can seat on its opinions on capital punishment because Botswana is not interested in hearing them.

Poloko was convicted for the murder of Vijeyadeyi Kandavaranam on January 2010 at Ntshe location in Francistown and attempting to kill her husband, Balasingnam Kandavaranam. He also stole two Nokia cellphones and P3500 during the offence. He was working for the Kandavaranams who were also senior citizens from India who were selling their belongings at the time in preparation of relocating to their native land.

Justice Modiri Letsidi found that Poloko was sold a car for P3500 by Kandavaranams but that out of greed he came back to attack the couple with the intention to claim back the money that he had earlier paid. That was when he found Balasingnam in the garage and strangled him. The man lost consciousness and Poloko thought that he was dead and went into the house where he subsequently strangled Balasingman’s wife to death. He then made away with the cash and the two cellphones belonging to the couple.

In his Judgement, Letsididi said that the accused used violence when he committed the offence. “He was neither drunk nor provoked when he committed the offences. He was also not acting in self-defence. The aggravating factors in these matters also heavily weigh against the accused. He was motivated by greed and cruelty to commit the crimes,” Letsididi said.


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