BOTSWANA: PATRICK GABAAKANYE HANGED AT GABORONE CENTRAL PRISON
May 25, 2016: death row inmate Patrick Gabaakanye was hanged at Gaborone Central Prison, according to a statement made by the Botswana Police Services. Gabaakanye had been convicted of murder by the High Court of Botswana in March 2014 and his death sentence was confirmed by the Court of Appeal on 30 July 2015. He was executed before the clemency process had been fully completed.
The lack of transparency of the clemency process in relation to those on death row was brought before the Court of Appeal in 2016 by local lawyer Martin Dingake, with the help of DITSHWANELO â€“ The Botswana Centre for Human Rights. On 21 April 2016, the Court of Appeal handed down a Judgment relating to the clemency (prerogative of mercy) process in Botswana. It held that less than six weeksâ€™ preparation time forÂ pro deoÂ counsel to prepare a clemency petition (and to be in possession of the same documents as the Committee) would not allow the accused persons to meaningfully exercise their constitutional right to clemency. However, critically the Clemency Advisory Committee failed to adhere to the 2016 ruling made by the Court of Appeal. The Committee did not provide sufficient time for the legal counsel to prepare the application.
In 2013 at the second cycle of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, the government of Botswana accepted the recommendation to inform the family members of the accused of the execution before it was carried out. According to lawyer Dingake, the family of Gabaakanye was not informed about the execution before it happened. (Sources: DITSHWANELO, 26/05/2016)