Family of executed ‘mule’ feel let down by authorities

By Time of article published Dec 14, 2011

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Sinegugu Ndlovu

DURBAN: The family of Janice Bronwyn Linden, who was executed in China on Monday for drug smuggling, may have come to terms with her death, but will not have closure until South African authorities provide answers to their many questions.

“We are not satisfied with what they (the International Relations Department) said they did,” Ntando Mthalane, Linden’s nephew, said yesterday.

“What did they really do in terms of helping her? It feels like they just did whatever they did for the sake of doing it. China and South Africa are trade partners; our government could have done more on that basis. We all have to move on, but it’s hard to accept. Even the treatment my mother and aunt received at the airport in China shows that China can do whatever it wants and our government has no backbone. The government would have done more if this had happened around voting time.”

Mthalane said his mother, Priscilla Mthalane, and aunt – Linden’s sisters – had been “humiliated” at the airport. While everyone else was allowed to pass, the two were taken to a room where they were interrogated and had their luggage, including underwear, checked and strewn on the floor.

“They were asked about their visit to China and what they had brought. They were humiliated although officials knew in advance about the visit,” Mthalane said.

Describing Linden’s last moments yesterday, Mthalane said she had been “happy”. Her sisters, who could not tell her that she would be executed,

were granted about 45 minutes to speak to her before what would be her last day.

“She was crying. My mom said she was crying tears of joy. She asked them to visit her again soon. She was the same Nicky emotionally; she was happy. She looked healthy and was the same weight.”

Linden’s hands and feet had been chained when she was wheeled in to see her sisters.

“That hurt us. You chain a serial killer because you don’t know how they will react. There was no reason to chain her,” he said.

The family does not know how Linden ended up in China. Mthalane said Linden had told them she worked for a hotel in England and had been unemployed for about a year before her trip to China.

Linden’s body was cremated. The International Relations Department said her ashes were given to a South African diplomat, who would return them to the family.

Mthalane said the family had not yet been contacted about the ashes.

He thanked people who had sympathised with the family.

International Relations Department spokesman Clayson Monyela again defended the government’s efforts in trying to intervene in Linden’s case, saying China and South Africa did not have an agreement for people arrested to be transferred to their home nation to serve prison sentences.

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