Boeremag five seek reduced sentences

Pretoria - Five of the 18 convicted Boeremag members believe their sentences are “too harsh” and will return to the Pretoria High Court this month to ask for leave to appeal. One believes he was wrongly convicted.

The other 13 accepted their fate.

Dr. Lets Pretorius says the 20-year jail term he was handed for treason is a death sentence because he is a white political prisoner. Picture: Etienne Creux. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

One of the convicted, Dr Lets Pretorius, will ask Judge Eben Jordaan for leave to appeal against both his conviction and sentence. But the judge previously remarked that he doubted that another court would come to a different finding about Pretorius’s guilt and effective 20-year jail term.

Pretorius maintained he was totally innocent and was not involved in any attempts to overthrow the ANC government.

 He also complained that he, as a 67-year-old, was sent to court for two decades. He also argued that the court could not hold him responsible for the conduct of his three sons – Johan, Wilhelm and Kobus – who were also sent to jail for lengthy terms.

The man pointed out by the judge as being the mastermind, Mike du Toit, was sentenced to an effective 25-years, his brother Andre du Toit to 10 years, Boeremag leader Tom Vorster to 25 years and Dion van der Heever to 20 years. They will appeal against their sentences.

It is unlikely any of the other convicted Boeremag members will ask the court to review their fate as the deadline has passed. They had 21 days from the day of their sentencing to dispute the court’s findings.

The complainants also said there were glaring differences in the sentences meted out to them.

The State will object to the applications, which are due to be heard sometime this week.

Boeremag member Fritz Naude, whose sentencing was postponed for a year as he was in a critical condition in a nursing home after a series of strokes, died on New Year’s Day. He had been in the nursing home for nearly a year and could not attend the last stint of the more than a decade long trial.

Most of the men who received up to 25 years’ effective jail terms had been awaiting trial behind bars for 10 years or more. Rudi Gouws and farmer Herman van Rooyen – both were on the run for eight months after an escape from court – will even have to spend longer in jail.

The pair were sentenced earlier to five years’ imprisonment for the escape after they pleaded guilty.

Their jail time may increase further, as they are due to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on a date yet to be announced for a second escape attempt.