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Amnesty International Report 1997 - Botswana

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1997
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1997 - Botswana, 1 January 1997, available at: [accessed 23 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
There were continued reports of ill-treatment and torture by police. A paramilitary police officer was convicted of the 1995 killing of a demonstrator. One man, charged with having homosexual relations and briefly detained as a prisoner of conscience in 1995, appealed against laws criminalizing homosexuality. One man sentenced to death in 1995 was awaiting execution at the end of the year. Two people under sentence of death had their sentences commuted.

Amnesty International continued to receive reports of widespread torture and ill-treatment by police of criminal suspects, particularly those involved in the theft of cars and diamonds. In January, for example, police allegedly assaulted Percy Mutambo Dzike, a Zimbabwean national arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting an escape. He suffered serious bruising. Further cases of police ill-treatment were reported in September.

A member of the Special Support Group (SSG), a paramilitary police force, was convicted of manslaughter in June and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment, reduced on appeal to an effective three-year sentence. The SSG officer fatally shot Binto Moroke in February 1995 during an attempt to arrest him in connection with rioting in Mochudi town (see Amnesty International Report 1996). In June, the government indicated that it would not charge a police officer who shot and paralysed an alleged car thief in September 1995. In October, the High Court awarded damages to the widow of a man shot dead by police in 1993.

The High Court of Botswana postponed until 1997 a hearing to determine whether Sections 164a and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code, which criminalize homosexual activity, violate the rights to privacy and freedom of association. The appeal was made in the case of a man who had been detained for three weeks in 1995 as a prisoner of conscience and charged, together with another man, with "unlawful carnal knowledge". The other man pleaded guilty in 1995 to a lesser charge and was sentenced to pay a fine (see Amnesty International Report 1996).

One man sentenced to death in 1995 was awaiting execution after the Appeal Court confirmed his death sentence in February. Gaolatile Kwae had been convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend's four children in 1995.

Two men convicted of murder and sentenced to death had their death sentences set aside in Appeal Court decisions. Joseph Kgaodi, convicted of killing his nephew in 1993, had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment in January. Boiki Mohkolo, convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1995, had his death sentence commuted to a 15-year prison term.

In December, Amnesty International wrote to President Quett Masire, expressing concern about specific reports of torture by police and asking for clarification of the policing role being undertaken by members of the security forces. No reply had been received by the end of the year.

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