Despite Been Unlawfully Incarcerated For Nearly 21 Years!
The convicted Boeremag family, father Lets Pretorius and his two sons, doctors Wilhelm and Johan Pretorius, lost their legal bid to be freed from jail.
The three feel their legal rights were trampled on during and after their trial which started in 2003 and lasted a decade. They were among a group of 21 men sentenced in 2013 on charges relating to high treason.
They are serving jail sentences of between 20 and 25 years at the high security Zonderwater Prison outside Cullinan, east of Pretoria. They earlier turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, for an order declaring their convictions, sentences and incarceration null and void.
They wanted the prison authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them from jail. In the alternative, they asked to be released on condition they won't flee the country, pending the decision of the International Human Rights Committee, due to hear their complaints that they were unfairly treated during their trial.
Their advocate, Professor Hercules Booysen, said if one took into account the time they have spent in jail following their arrest and subsequent sentence, they have been “unlawfully” incarcerated for about 21 years.
He told Judge Peter Mabuse they had a very good chance of being freed by the international tribunal.
He said their application for release was based on three violations of the judicial process. This includes that five years after their sentence, they still could not succeed to have their appeal bid accepted by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. This is because the high court refused to give them the original trial record - which runs to more than 62 000 pages. The SCA said it could not accept the appeal without the documents.
The committee received their complaint in July last year and forwarded it to the government for its comment. The government replied the trio could petition the Supreme Court Appeal (SCA) directly for access. As a last resort, they could approach the Constitutional Court. It asked the committee to dismiss the complaints.
Judge Mabuse said the complaint of the father and his sons had in his opinion reached a dead end.
The judge said he also did not have the judicial power - sitting as a single judge - to overturn the verdict and sentence imposed by Judge Eben Jordaan, so “it was set up for failure right from the start”. He dismissed the application and slapped the father and sons with the legal bill.
Source: IOL, South Africa and Pretoria News.
Action Is Antidote To Despair.
Published on Break The Silence About South Africa by Shar Grainger. Dated., 27th November, 2019.