DA: Not enough done to stop execution

2011-12-12 18:00
Johannesburg - The government did not do enough to prevent the execution of a South African woman in China on Monday for drug smuggling, the Democratic Alliance said.

"Whilst we firmly believe that drug mules should be punished for their offences, this punishment does not fit the crime," DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa said in a statement.

He said the steps taken by the South African government to prevent the execution were not enough to save the woman's life.

Janice Bronwyn Linden, 35, from KwaZulu-Natal, was executed by lethal injection.

She was arrested in Guangzhou in November 2008 after she was caught with 3kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) in her luggage. She was convicted of drug smuggling in 2009.

The department of international relations said on Monday that President Jacob Zuma tried to intervene in the execution.

"He [Zuma] did intervene. All the necessary interventions were done at every possible level, even the highest ones," department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

Mokgalapa said the DA would submit several questions to Parliament in order to clarify the position government took during the intervention process.

"South Africans deserve to know what was done to assist Linden and her family in pleading for a fair sentence and to be assured that the failure of diplomatic pressure from the South African government cannot be attributed to our apparent human rights blind spot where China is concerned," Mokgalapa said.

On Monday the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said the Chinese government should have considered its trade relations with South Africa before executing Linden.

"With the current growing trade relations between China and South Africa, one would have hoped this relationship would have influenced China differently," IFP MP Ben Skosana said in a statement.

He said China should have also considered South Africa's position on the death penalty before making the decision.

"The death penalty was abolished in South Africa expressly because its citizens consider it to be a fundamental violation of human rights," he said.

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