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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Terreblanche suspect 'acted in self-defence'

A South African farm worker on trial for the murder of white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche acted in self-defence, his lawyer claims.

Puna Moroko, lawyer for one of two suspects, told reporters that his client had been throttled and threatened before the murder. He also withdrew an earlier claim that at least one of the men was sexually assaulted by the far-right leader. The case, which has attracted worldwide attention, will resume next month.

Large crowds gathered at the court in Ventersdorp, including supporters of Mr Terreblanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) as well as a group of black workers who were dancing and singing. Police formed a barricade outside the building but proceedings passed without incident.

Speaking to reporters outside court, the lawyer for 28-year old Chris Mahlangu said his client had been assaulted by Mr Terreblanche. Mr Terreblanche "throttled him and said 'I'll kill you because my cattle are missing'," he said. "Then he said he stopped working and started sleeping at a nearby farm until he [Terreblanche] sent one black guy... to plead with him to come back."

Mr Terreblanche's body was found on 3 April after he was beaten to death. The murder was initially claimed to be linked to a wage dispute, but police have now said they are investigating other causes amid reports that those accused acted in self-defence. Despite previous assertions, Mr Moroko meanwhile dropped the claim that Mr Terreblanche tried to have sex with his client. But he said he could only comment on his own client and could not speak for the other 15-year-old defendant, who is represented by a different lawyer.

Mr Terreblanche was leader of the AWB, a white supremacist group, and believed that whites and blacks should be kept apart. AWB secretary general Andre Visagie has dismissed the claims. "It is clearly that they hunt for a motive for the murder which they can't find and they are trying out everything now, including an effort to make Mr Terreblanche to look bad in any possible way," he said. The 15-year old has declined bail and is staying in a police safe-house. A bail application for Mr Mahlangu has been postponed until 10 May.



1 comment:

itchbay said...

I'm really scared for SA...