Despite international appeals for clemency, a former honor student at the University of the District of Columbia was hanged Saturday in Botswana, a State Department official said yesterday.

Clement Gofhamodimo, 27, a native of Botswana, was convicted in the 1978 murder of a tourist in the African country. Gofhamodimo had maintained his innocence.

The guilty sentence of a Botswana court last January was based primarily on circumstantial evidence establishing Gofhamodimo as the last person who saw the Swiss tourist alive. The body was never found.

UDC President Robert L. Green, D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young had asked Botswana President Qwett Masire to commute Gofhamodimo's sentence. His appeal for mercy was turned down by the president's office last week.

Gofhamodimo spent six years as an undocumented alien in the United States before he was arrested and deported by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1983 while in his junior year at UDC.

Botswana had repeatedly asked for his extradition.

His conviction had shocked many of his former colleagues and teachers at UDC who remembered him as a hard-working, quiet person.

Gofhamodimo lived in Riverdale with his wife, Moliwe, and his U.S.-born son. His wife has been in Botswana for several months.