Bo­eremag ac­cused tells judge:‘I will die in jail be­cause I am white’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

to 10 to 48 years for con­spir­ing to over­throw the ANC gov­ern­ment in the early 2000s.

“A sen­tence of 20 years is ac­tu­ally a death sen­tence for me,” Pre­to­rius told the court.

“I am 67 years old and will be 87 when I’ve served 20 years. By that time, chances are good that nei­ther I nor my wife will still be alive.

“I hon­estly never ex­pected such a se­vere sen­tence, and did not make long-term pro­vi­sion for my wife’s care.

“I know it can be ar­gued that I was con­victed of vi­o­lent crimes, but I’m a po­lit­i­cal pris­oner and I’m also white.

“If I look and lis­ten to what hap­pens to other white po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers... I know as an enemy of the state that my chances of get­ting pa­role are slim.”

Pre­to­rius, who was out on bail for nine years be­fore be­ing sen­tenced ear­lier this week, tes­ti­fied that he had al­ways ad­hered to his bail con­di­tions, and had no plans to flee.

“I can­not see how I can be re­garded as a dan­ger to so­ci­ety. I’ve de­voted my whole life to help­ing peo­ple,” he said.

Pre­to­rius said he was his wife Min­nie’s per­sonal physi­cian, psy­chi­a­trist and soul­mate.

He had nursed her through breast can­cer and de­pres­sion, and also acted as a sur­ro­gate fa­ther to his grand­chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to Pre­to­rius, his sen­tenc­ing had been a great shock to his wife and she was not do­ing well emo­tion­ally.

Pre­to­rius said he wanted to help his ad­vo­cate pre­pare for an ap­peal, and also needed to gen­er­ate funds for an ap­peal since it was un­cer­tain whether Le­gal Aid SA would fund his ap­peal.

“I’ve been ad­vised that I have a chance on ap­peal. I think it would be very un­wise to even con­sider flee­ing or not to ad­here to my bail con­di­tions,” he said.

Pi­eter Luyt, for the State, ar­gued that Pre­to­rius was a flight risk be­cause of the long sen­tence he faced.

“There’s no rea­son­able prospect of suc­cess on ap­peal, and it is highly un­likely that another court would im­pose a dif­fer­ent sen­tence.

“Through his crimes and his con­duct, he (Pre­to­rius) has clearly shown that he is a dan­ger to so­ci­ety,” Luyt ar­gued.

Judge Eben Jor­daan will de­liver judg­ment in the bail ap­pli­ca­tion on Wed­nes­day.

Yes­ter­day, the judge de­clared all the Bo­eremag mem­bers, ex­cept for Adriaan van Wyk and for­mer de­fence force of­fi­cers Giel Burger and Pi­eter van Deven­ter, un­fit to pos­sess firearms. – Sapa

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