Jailed AWB men fight bid by rights groups to delay pardons. (31.03.2009)

Jailed AWB men fight bid by rights groups to delay pardons. (31.03.2009)

By Political Bureau

Six Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members jailed over the death of a black man and an attack on others have launched a joint bid to halt a legal challenge from civil rights groups who want to stop President Kgalema Motlanthe from granting pardons for politically-motivated crimes.

The six applied for presidential pardons in a process initiated by then-president Thabo Mbeki in 2007 for prisoners who were serving sentences for politically-motivated crimes committed before June 16, 1999, but who had not applied to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for amnesty.

The men's court application follows that of an eighth man in their group, Ryan Albutt, who applied to the Pretoria High Court on Monday for an order blocking eight rights groups' court attempts to stay Motlanthe's decision.

Albutt has AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche's backing in his quest for a pardon.

A multiparty task team has recommended that Motlanthe grant pardons to about 120 of the 2 300 prisoners who have applied. But civil rights groups, including the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, argue that victims must be given a say, denied them by the task team.

The seven AWB members were sentenced in 2006 to eight years for culpable homicide, public violence and assault after attacking a group of striking black municipal workers in Kuruman in 1995 with sticks and sjamboks. One of the workers died later of head injuries.

In Cape Times

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