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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 10:49 GMT
South African woman to hang
The convicted woman
Mariette Bosch maintained her innocence throughout
By Greg Barrow in Lobatse, Botswana

A South African woman is likely to be hanged in Botswana following the failure of her appeal against the death sentence

Mariette Bosch has been on death row for almost a year after a court found her guilty of murdering her best friend Ria Wolmerans.

She was a wicked and despicable woman

Judge Timothy Aguda
Mrs Bosch later went on to marry the dead woman's husband.

Earlier this month, a panel of Commonwealth judges heard her appeal but decided she did not have a case.

Not convincing

The judges said that Mrs Bosch had concocted an incredible and implausible story in an attempt to convince them of her innocence.

President Festus Mogae
President Festus Mogae is unlikely to give Mrs Bosch clemency
In this long-running trial Mrs Bosch has been revealed as a manipulative murderess, who planned the death of her best friend so that she could go on to marry her husband.

Many local people who turned out to hear the verdict celebrated the decision of the appeal court judges. Some danced and sang saying that Mrs Bosch will be rightfully punished for murder.

President's decision

Mariette Bosch's only hope of escaping the death sentence is a presidential pardon. But in a country where the government supports capital punishment clemency is unlikely.

If that does not come then Mrs Bosch will become the first white woman in Botswana's history to be hanged.

The case has attracted international attention and has been dubbed 'Botswana's white mischief' after the famous book about love betrayal in colonial Kenya.

A total of 33 people have been executed in Botswana since 1966
During the appeal a leading British barrister, who has a high reputation for getting death sentences over-turned, argued that Mrs Bosch was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The barrister, Desmond de Silva, said Mrs Bosch's trial had been riddled with judicial errors and he suggested that one of the prosecution witnesses should have been considered a suspect in the murder.

The appeal was heard in front of a panel of Commonwealth judges, who are called in as the final court of appeal under Botswana law.

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See also:

18 Jan 01 | Africa
'White Mischief' trial begins
18 Apr 00 | South Asia
Reprieve for Pakistani woman
12 Jan 01 | Americas
Oklahoma executes black woman
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Botswana
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