GABORONE, Botswana – A 30-year-old Botswana woman arrested for smuggling drugs into Bangladesh is alive and awaiting trial in Bangladesh, her father said.
According to media reports, Lesedi Molapisi was set to be executed on Friday for attempting to smuggle 3kg of heroin into Bangladesh. It was not yet clear whether she was executed or was still alive.
Her father, Shakwane Molapisi, told television news channel Newzroom Afrika that the trial against his daughter had not yet started.
He told the television channel that he was communicating with his daughter via an intermediary contracted by an African association in Bangladesh to assist her.
“The trial has not yet started, that is what I know. The last communication I had with her through those notes was last week. She appeared in court on November 14 for mention not trial,” her father told Newzroom Afrika.
He said he was communicating with his daughter through notes shared via the intermediary.
He said his daughter did not know there were drugs in her luggage.
Molapisi said he managed to retrieve a letter from his daughter’s luggage in Botswana, the letter was written from a Pretoria based tour business to the Bangladashi government requesting a business visa for Lesedi, so that she could be able to buy ready made garment products in Bangladesh.
According to the letter which he read, the tour business offered to assist Lesedi in sourcing the ready-made garments and provide accommodation for her in Bangladesh.
“This suggests that she might have been lured into this, because they promised that they will assist her to go and buy ready-made garments in Bangladesh so that she could resell here in Botswana. That is when she went to Bangladesh, and she was arrested with the so-called illegal drug.“
He said he had not been in contact with his daughter, making it difficult for him to enquire from her what exactly happened.
Molapisi said his unemployed daughter left home on January 16 and seven days letter they heard news that she was arrested in Bangladesh for possession of illegal drugs.
Lesedi of Ramotswa in Botswana was arrested on arrival at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka in January. She arrived on a Qatar Airways flight from South Africa, which came via Doha.
Bangladeshi English-language daily newspaper, New Age, reported that airport’s customs officials and an intelligence agency intercepted Molapisi while crossing the green channel, the passage for arriving passengers with no goods to declare.
After scanning her bag, the customs officials seized over 3kg of a heroin-like granular substance.
At the time of her arrest, the Daily Star in Bangladesh quoted Sanuwarul Kabir, deputy commissioner of customs, as saying: “We have information that cocaine is being smuggled but officials from the department of narcotics control primarily confirmed that the seized item is heroin. We will send the samples for laboratory tests.”
The Zimbabwean Mail reported that Bangladesh has strict anti-drug laws, which prescribe the death penalty for anyone caught illegally cultivating, producing, transporting, exporting, or importing heroin, cocaine, and cocaine derivatives drugs in excess of 25 grams or millilitres.
Molapisi was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, the Zimbabwean Mail reported.
According to Amnesty International, 579 executions were recorded in 18 countries in 2021, an increase of 20 percent from the 483 recorded in 2020.
Most known executions took place in China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria – in that order.