Seychellois sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Egypt-‘Government to follow through its appeal for clemency’


16-April-2013

Commenting on the sentences in the En Moman Avek Prezidan programme aired on SBC TV on Sunday evening, President James Michel said he was shocked by the news of the sentences because our Constitution does not provide for such penalties.

He said efforts are under way through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomacy is being used to see if the sentences could be commuted to life.

The President said we will always be against the death sentence, adding that we now have to follow the course of the Egyptian justice system following subsequent information that the three convicted Seychellois can now appeal their sentences.

‘’We have called on our consul in Egypt to give them the necessary support for their appeal,” Mr Michel said. We believe in justice and therefore it is important that justice takes its course,” said the President.

He noted that in case the sentences are maintained after appeal, he as head of state, will undertake the necessary process to intervene towards the Egyptian government and seek clemency for our citizens.

“I personally believe that no one should be allowed to take the life of another person,” said Mr Michel.

Still on the issue of drugs, the President opened the Wellness Centre at Les Cannelles recently and was apprised of the number of people registered with mental problems (900) while some 9,000 are suffering from milder forms of the same problem.

Mr Michel said our life style and hectic jobs are responsible for some of the mental health problems we face.

But for the specific group of young people he has seen following treatment for heroin addiction, Mr Michel said he has been profoundly touched by their plight and saluted their resolve to seek treatment.

He said this has strengthened his determination and commitment to fight drug trafficking with firmness.

“The group of young people no doubt represent many other young people facing the same plight in our society and this made me realise how the traffickers are destroying a whole Seychellois generation and this increases my determination to fight drug trafficking. Seeing the group of young people I realise this is a form of death sentence the traffickers have imposed on them,” the President said.

President Michel said the centre is a good first step but weaknesses still remain, for instance the lack of follow-up for the group of determined young people after they complete their treatment.

“They are going back to the same community where it is likely the majority of them will fall back under pressure from dealers. I believe the government should do more to help them. Following their stay at the centre they need to have somewhere safe to go to continue their treatment through further counseling, monitoring  and support to strengthen their resolve and where necessary receive help and guidance to get a job,” said the President.

Mr Michel said he has already consulted the ministers responsible for finance and community development on the matter. He noted that the Wellness Centre has brought about some relief to society and the young people who want to change their lives. But more needs to be done to continue supporting and helping them.

While the fight against drug trafficking intensifies, allegations are still rampant that traffickers and dealers are known to the police and they are still roaming the communities distributing their ‘poison’ without being arrested.

Commenting on the allegations, Mr Michel said a large majority of traffickers have been caught and sent to Marie-Louise island where they can no longer continue their dirty business.
He said it is unfortunate that there were people working within the prison system for instance who were helping these traffickers sustain their businesses.

He however noted that there needs to be enough tangible proof before a person is arrested.

He said work being carried out by the police and the National Drugs Enforcement Agency has resulted in many successes but until there is substantial proof that a person is involved in drug trafficking, there is no way an arrest can be made.

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