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Article posted  by: White Nation correspondent Johannesburg  15 August   2018





South African mother and daughter escape the gallows





TWO South African drug mules on death row in Malaysia have lost their appeals and are now fervently hoping the country’s king will save them from the gallows.

Their letters to families in our possession are filled with despair and cries for help. Their loved ones do not even have the financial means to visit them. International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nelson Kgwete yesterday confirmed that at least three South Africans were facing execution in Malaysia. He said a further 880 South Africans are serving sentences or awaiting trial in foreign countries, with 169 in Brazil, 30 in Peru and 13 in Thailand.

Among those on death row is Deon Cornelius whose fate lies in the hands of Malaysia’s king Sultan Muhammad V, after recently losing his last appeal in the federal court which is the final appellate. In a recent letter to his mother, Ria Zeelie, Cornelius wrote: “So things didn’t work out the way it was supposed to have done but that is not the end of the world. “All I am asking is for mother to stay strong because I will be strong and I am going to see you again and hold you.” Deon was sentenced to death for smuggling 2kg of methaphetamines into Penang International Airport. Drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia. He is not the only South African finding himself in this hopeless situation.


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Malaysia’s king Sultan Muhammad V- last ditch hope for the doomed South African pair.

Deon Jacobus Alfred Cornelius, a security guard in South Africa, committed the offence at the airport Customs inspection counter at about 11.40am on Oct 4, 2013. The offence under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 carries the mandatory death sentence on conviction. In his judgment, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan ruled the prosecution had succeeded in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt. He said the accused should have the awareness to check the laptop bag that was passed to him by his friend known as only “Tony” in South Africa.

He said “Tony” handed the bag to the accused to be brought over to someone else in Penang after learning of the latter’s 10-day vacation in the state. “Both of them had met three to four times back then in their country,” he said when delivering his verdict. The drugs were found in a hidden compartment of the laptop bag. During mitigation, lawyer Hussaini Abdul Rashid said the accused has a wife and five-year-old daughter in his home country, and pleaded for leniency. The accused appeared calm when Nordin handed down his decision. DPP Zuraidah Zakaria prosecuted the case.

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DEON CORNELIUS– Hopeless situation: Facing execution by hanging for peddling  2kg of methaphetamines into Penang International Airport


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Deon Jacobus Alfred Cornelius (L) being led out of George Town High Court on Jan 22, 2015. 


Letitia Bosman, 26, from Pretoria, is petitioning the final appellate court after losing another appeal to overturn her death penalty for drug smuggling. Writing to her mother, Elsie Bosman, she said: “Every year we’ve been apart has been sadder, but there’s still hope. “I still have the federal court to go to. I can’t turn back what I did. I can only ask for forgiveness.” Amnesty International’s Chiara Sangiorgio said that nine people were executed in 2016 in the strict Asian country. “As of March, 799 people on death row were convicted and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, including 416 foreign nationals,” she said.


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LETITIA BOSMAN- together with Deon Cornelius facing the hangman for drug peddling

Kgwete yesterday said they had written to the Malaysian government requesting that the death sentences of the local prisoners be commuted to jail sentences. “The only option left is for the prisoner to submit a request for pardon to the king of Malaysia. “That is apart from efforts by the South African government to have the sentence handed down to Cornelius commuted. “They are under no obligation to accede to our request and we are yet to receive a response,” Kgwete said.

Locked Up In A Foreign Country, a group that fights for the rights of South Africans arrested abroad, has also made an appeal to spare the lives of the convicts. Its founder, Patricia Gerber, said the number of South Africans getting arrested abroad was increasing yearly. “The only solution to bring this to an end is for the South African government to sign a prisoner transfer agreement so that South Africans abroad can come back and complete the remainder of their sentences here,” Gerber said.

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Cornelius and Bosman- two lost kids seeking each other’s comfort in the shadow of death

Sangiorgio said that in most cases, families of those on death row are only informed of their loved one’s executions a few days before it happens. “On the basis of what we have seen in recent cases, we have campaigned against the death penalty. “But even when the petition is successful the process is not transparent. “In the two cases of commutations we know of from last year, the families were only told about it early this year.” Sangiorgio also explained the process followed in clemency. “The prisoner files the application through the prison authorities and waits for months, more often years, without knowing when their application will be considered by the clemency board. “If the petition is rejected, only the prison authorities are notified about it, triggering the process of execution,” Sangiorgio said. Bosman appeared in the Malaysian Federal Court on Tuesday to appeal against her conviction – but the case was postponed again until October 11 because her attorney was absent due to sickness.