Executed before trial even began!
Trial of the narcotics case filed against Lesedi Molapisi, a woman from Botswana, is yet to begin at a Dhaka court. But several African media outlets have reported that Molapisi is set to be executed or has been executed for smuggling 3 kilos of heroin into Bangladesh.
The Zimbabwe Mail reported that the 30-year-old was set to be executed on November 25. Another outlet, IOL, published the same information citing The Zimbabwe Mail.
Some outlets, including the two, later ran news stating that the woman is still alive, after her family came forward and clarified the matter.
The source from which the outlets got the incorrect information could not be ascertained.
Chamon Afroza, a defence lawyer for Molapisi, told The Daily Star, "The news on Molapisi's execution in the narcotics case is totally false."
"The trial has not even started. My client was produced before the court on November 14," she said. "After investigating, police pressed charges against Molapisi and another man last August."
On January 23, Molapisi was arrested at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport with 3.145 kg of heroin, worth around Tk 20 crore. She arrived at the airport on a Qatar Airways flight from South Africa via Doha.
Customs officials in association with National Security Intelligence intercepted her when she was crossing the green channel, the passage for arriving passengers with no goods to declare. After scanning her luggage, the customs officials seized the narcotics.
The next day, Firoz Alam, an assistant customs officer of the Customs House in Dhaka, filed a case against Molapisi with Airport Police Station under the Narcotics Control Act.
On August 17, investigation officer Mohammad Jahangir Alam, a sub-inspector of the same police station, submitted a charge sheet before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka against Molapisi and one Mohibul Islam Masud, stating that the two are active members of an international drug-smuggling syndicate.
During investigation, police on January 26 arrested Masud, managing director of Mehrab Industries Limited, located in Dhaka's Uttara Paschim area.
The charge sheet states, "Masud invited Molapisi to come to Bangladesh for business purposes, but she could not show any suitable evidence in favour of her business."
"Molapisi took three handbags from her friend Evans Chukaka, a resident of Johannesburg in South Africa, before coming to Bangladesh; the heroin was hidden inside the bags," the charge sheet read.
"No definite evidence against Chukaka or his address was found during investigation, so he was not named in the charge sheet," it added.