12 December 2011
South Africa had on several occasions appealed to China to halt the execution of Janice Linden, a South African woman convicted of smuggling drugs.
On Monday morning, South Africans woke up to the news that Janice Bronwyn Linden was being executed in China. The 37-year-old woman from KwaZulu-Natal was arrested in November 2008 after being found in possession of 3kg of methamphetamines when she arrived in Guangzhou.
International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the South African authorities had been in constant contact with the Chinese on Linden’s sentence, appealing for her execution to be halted.
“We have tried at the level of the ambassador in Beijing, up to the level of government, to try to appeal to the authorities in China to commute or convert the sentence from a death penalty to a jail term, especially given what our Constitution says about the death penalty,” Monyela said on Monday.
“Unfortunately, all our terms were unsuccessful.”
Monyela told E-News channel in an interview that they had even pleaded with the Chinese delegation on the sidelines of the UN climate summit (COP 17) held in Durban over the last two weeks, but this had not yielded any positive results.
“We are disappointed in this morning’s execution,” said Monyela.
According to Chinese practice, Linden would not have been told of her execution until this morning (Chinese time).
Media reports suggested that two of her sisters were in China and had been allowed an hour with her before she was put to death by lethal injection.
Monyela said the department would continue providing consular services to her family.
Although it is not known how many people are executed in China annually, because the information is classified as a “national secret”, Linden is the first South African to be executed in China, and human rights groups say thousands still face capital punishment in that country.