DITSHWANELO Press Statement on the execution of Phemelo Botogeleng

DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights noted with concern and great disappointment, the execution of Mr Phemelo Botogeleng, which took place on Friday 11 June 2021, at the Gaborone Central Prison.

Mr Phemelo Botogeleng, a thirty four (34) year old death row inmate, was executed by the Prisons Services according to a press release issued by Botswana Prison Services dated 11 June 2021. Mr Botogeleng was sentenced to death by the High Court in Francistown on the 28 July 2020 after he was convicted, ‘… for the murder of his girlfriend Ms Annah Simon and her child Atang Simon on the 5 May 2011…’. Mr Phemelo Botogeleng was sentenced to 15 years for the murder of his girlfriend and to death for the murder of the child. His appeal against conviction and sentences was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on the 10 February 2021.

DITSHWANELO remains opposed to and condemns the use of the death penalty as a means of punishment. We continue to appeal to our Government to take the lead in
condemning (and not, itself using) the use of force, which leads to the loss of life and instead strive to protect life, including that of the offender. We also continue to call on our Government to address the greater challenge of societal degeneration, and look for alternatives to addressing the cause of increasing anti-social behaviour which may result in the committing of capital offences. This includes the increased cases of Gender Based
Violence (GBV).

We continue to urge that the proposed review of our Constitution should include the protection of the right to a dignified life, including the life of offenders. We call upon our government to seriously consider adopting a restorative justice framework when it engages in the constitutional review as well as policy reform governing the application of law. A restorative justice framework addresses the concerns of both victim and the offender, within the broader context of society.

DITSHWANELO remains steadfast in its belief in the responsibility to protect the right to life. We once again reiterate that the loss of all life is always deeply regrettable.

We further urge our Government to seriously explore other forms of punishment for capital offences, as a demonstration of its commitment to respect the dignity of all human beings – including that of offenders.