The father of a Botswana national, Lesedi Molapisi, arrested for allegedly flying into Bangladesh with drugs in her possession is struggling to obtain information about her circumstances but believes she is alive and awaiting a trial date.
Social media was abuzz on Friday with unconfirmed reports that 30-year-old Lesedi Molapisi had been executed.
Goitsemodimo Molapisi told Newzroom Afrika he was receiving news of her via an intermediary, contracted by an African association in Bangladesh to assist her.
In a message last week, “she says she’s fine and as we speak she is mentioning the trial hasn’t yet started,” her father said.
He added she had been taken to court on November 14 for “a mention” but the case had not yet gone to trial.
In January, the Bangladeshi New Age reported Molapisi was apprehended at the Dhaka airport after she was allegedly found in possession of 3kg of a heroin-like granular substance after disembarking from a Qatar Airways flight that had arrived via Doha from South Africa.
Her father said the family had not known about her travel plans and only heard of her arrest from the media, seven days after she had left home.
His daughter does not know anything about drugs in her luggage, he said.
Bangladesh retains the death penalty for a wide range of offences, which it carries out regularly, according to the University of Oxford. A paper from the institution said there were 2,000 prisoners on death row as of June 2021.
Botswana is the only country in Southern Africa which has retained the death penalty, which it imposes for murder cases, Amnesty International said. Most recently, two people were executed there in February.
Molapisi said he had learnt of a letter written from a business in Pretoria to Bangladeshi authorities requesting a visa for his daughter to travel there to buy ready-made garments, which were to be resold in Southern Africa.
She had been unemployed prior to that, he said.-Sowetan