President Mokgweetsi Masisi has pledged support for Lesedi Molapisi, a Botswana citizen condemned to death in Bangladesh, should she choose to appeal her sentence. Molapisi, 32, was sentenced to death on Monday by a Bangladeshi court on drug trafficking charges.

At a media briefing before departing for the JCK Show, Masisi addressed the gravity of the situation. “I leave on a sombre note that a citizen of ours in a faraway land got into trouble and is faced with a very harsh reality of paying the hard price,” he said. He urged Batswana to keep Molapisi and her family in their prayers and hope for a less severe punishment.

Masisi made a bold commitment, stating that the Government of Botswana would assist with Molapisi’s appeal. “What is left is an appeal. We will facilitate and provide counselling to the family, and provide some financial support to enable the final appeal, as led by the international human rights agency, Amnesty International,” he said.

However, Masisi acknowledged the seriousness of the death sentence and the concerns within Botswana about drug trafficking. “I must also remind you that even in our own consultation of the constitutional review, Batswana expressed a similar view to the country where she is being sentenced. There are strong sentiments about involvement in the drug trade,” he noted.

Molapisi was arrested in 2022 at Bangladesh’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport with over 3.145kg of heroin. She had arrived on a Qatar Airways flight from South Africa via Doha, Qatar. According to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), the Dhaka court sentenced her to death, with Additional Metropolitan Session Judge Md Aminul Islam issuing the order.