Charges dropped against fugitive Samotse but…

FRANCISTOWN: The state has withdrawn murder charges against a fugitive who fled for the second time last October. However, the charges against Edwin Samotse, will be reinstated once he is arrested again.

The fugitive escaped from Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital last October after he had been retrieved from South Africa, where he had initially fled to in 2011 after allegedly killing his girlfriend.

On Tuesday, prosecutor James Moikwathai asked the court to withdraw the charges against Samotse. “I make an application for charges against the accused to be withdrawn without prejudice to the state in accordance with Section 150 (4) of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act. The accused is still at large,” he said.

Principal Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba granted the application, explaining that the charges against Samotse would be reinstated once he is arrested.

Police suspect that Samotse is in South Africa from where they believe he knows his extradition will be difficult given the diplomatic tiff that occurred when he first fled there in 2011 after the murder.

After the incident, Samotse was located in South Africa, but Pretoria demanded assurances that he would not face the death penalty, which Gaborone did not grant. He was returned to Botswana under unclear circumstances with the South African authorities claiming that there was an administrative error.

Human rights groups in South Africa launched civil suits against their government claiming that Samotse’s handover to Botswana was putting him at risk of capital punishment.

On arrival in Botswana, Siziba denied him bail on October 6 last year, after he was caught attempting to escape to South Africa. Samotse eventually burst free and is currently at large.

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