Wanted: Freelance hangman

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The Independent Online

With four people already on death row, the southern African kingdom of Swaziland is to advertise for a hangman.

With four people already on death row, the southern African kingdom of Swaziland is to advertise for a hangman.

It is the third time in three years that the tiny country ­ landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique ­ has launched a hunt for a freelance hangman, or woman. The country's justice department said yesterday that applicants to date, mainly from South Africa, were unsuitable.

"We used to use a rotational hangman whom we shared with Botswana and Lesotho but now we want to have our own,'' said a spokesman.

Swaziland has not hanged anyone since 1984 and appeal provisions made into law in 1998 give judges scope for reducing sentences. Ten prisoners facing the death penalty will have their sentences examined by the appeal court next month with a view to them being changed to life imprisonment.

However, the latest hunt for a hangman is believed to have been launched ahead of the sentencing of serial killer David Mhlanga, found guilty last month of murdering 34 women.

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