Death row inmate seeks clemency from Khama

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A Lobatse man, who was condemned to death by the Gaborone High Court last year, is seeking clemency from President Ian Khama after an unsuccessful appeal.

According to documents seen by Mmegi, the attorney for 55-year-old Patrick Gabaakanye, Martin Dingake has already written to Khama and the Attorney General (AG).  

In the letter dated August 18, 2015 as Application for a Prerogative of Mercy, Dingake seeks advise on the process and procedure to be followed for the clemency of his client.

“We act for Mr Patrick Gabaakanye who was recently convicted and sentenced to death, which was confirmed on appeal,” reads the letter.   It further states that the attorney is in the process of obtaining instructions from Gabaakanye, “We are desirous of being advised of the process of the application for a prerogative of mercy in terms of section 53 of the constitution”.

He also requested that they be given advice on what form may be forwarded to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy.

“In particular, we want to be fully advised on what procedure and processes are involved and what representation and in what form may be made to the Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy and what documents we are permitted and or not permitted to file.

“We have advised ourselves of the provisions of the constitution as relates to the Prerogative of Mercy and such a process does not come out at all hence the request for advice relating to the process as outlined in the letter,” states the letter.

Dingake has also addressed another letter to the AG requesting that he should not sign any warrant ordering the execution of his client, if necessary, until the response from the President.

“Whilst we await such response from His Excellency and consider it as put together the application for Prerogative of Mercy and same is considered by the Advisory Committee on Prerogative Mercy, we have been instructed to seek an undertaking from yourselves, as we hereby do, that His Excellency the President shall not sign any warrant under Section 118 of the Prisons Act of the Laws of Botswana ordering that the death sentence of client be carried out.

“Or if such a warrant has already been signed by His Excellency as he is by law entitled to, shall not be executed pending the processes we have undertaken or intend to undertake.  In particular, an understanding of the procedure and process for the application for a Prerogative of Mercy and the application itself,” further reads the letter. Dingake indicated in the letter that AG should respond to their request not later than August 21, 2015, failing which they would interdict the execution.

“The undertaking should be given to us by no later than the said date, failing of which we shall seek an interdict against the execution of the death sentence until our request is complied with and the intended application for Prerogative of Mercy is made and properly considered,” it states.  Gabaakanye recently lost a case at the Court of Appeal in a bid to avoid a date with the hangman’s noose. 

He was sentenced to death for the 2010 murder of a visually impaired septuagenarian at Ga-Mosusu and was jailed for five years for unlawfully wounding the wife of the 74-year-old man.  Gabaakanye, who has a string of previous convictions dating as far back as 1989, is no stranger to the death sentence.

He escaped the noose in 2004 after his 1993 conviction was overturned to 15 years imprisonment following a successful appeal.

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