A 38-year-old South African woman by the name of Janice Bronwyn Linden (pictured right) has been executed more than three years after she was arrested for being found with 3kg of methamphetamine upon her arrival in the Guangzhou airport. Her death sentence was carried out by lethal injection (and witnessed by her own family members) just days after a Filipino was executed for a similar crime, sparking protests in the city of Manila.
Linden has gone to the grave adamantly maintaining her innocence and denying all charges, saying someone had planted the drugs in her luggage. Her approvals were rejected by both the provincial High Court in Guangdong and the Supreme Court in Beijing.
On the diplomatic front:
South Africa had made several appeals to have Linden’s sentence converted to life imprisonment, including on the sidelines of the United Nations COP17 climate talks in her eastern hometown, Durban, that ended Sunday.
“Even on the COP17 sidelines the (foreign) minister summoned the Chinese ambassador,” said Monyela. “We pleaded for clemency repeatedly.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told AFP in Beijing that the law had been followed.
“On handling drug criminals, the Chinese government’s position has been consistent and clear,” said Liu. “Whether they are foreign or Chinese, China will handle their cases according to the law.”
The South African Human Rights Commission has criticised the South African government for being “focused more on trading with China” and its “failure to consider human rights”.
“When South Africa establishes trade and diplomatic relations with any country, it is absolutely imperative that human rights principles form one of the primary pillars of these relations,” said spokesperson Vincent Moaga in a statement. “Her sentence is a violation of commonly accepted basic human rights, particularly the rights to life and dignity.”
An outpouring of messages have been left on Linden’s Facebook profile by her friends as family members received her ashes from diplomats.