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Pretoria - The Pretoria High Court will on Monday hear an urgent application on behalf of Boeremag accused Herman van Rooyen, who insists on being transported from jail to court in a police car, and not the Cantor truck currently being used.
Van Rooyen, one of the 20 accused in the so-called Boeremag trial, has not attended court for months.
He remained in jail while the case against him and the others proceeded in court.
This is because he claimed he cannot be transported in the police van, as he suffers from acute panic attacks.
Through his advocate, Piet Pistorius, he asked that police transport him in a separate vehicle.
Because the police have turned down his request, Pistorius will on Monday ask Judge Eben Jordaan to compel the police to adhere to Van Rooyen’s request.
The police are to oppose the application.
Van Rooyen is regarded as a flight risk. He has twice made a dash for freedom.
A few years ago Van Rooyen and co-accused Rudi Gouws escaped from court. They were on the run for months before being caught.
Van Rooyen was again among the accused who tried to escape more than a year ago during a break at the high court.
He was captured on Church Square.
The 40-year-old farmer was last year convicted of treason following his involvement in the group’s attempt to overthrow the post-apartheid government.
Van Rooyen has been behind bars awaiting trial for nearly 11 years.
According to his lawyer, the time spent in jail had a negative impact on him.
He suffered from depression and severe panic attacks, especially when transported in the police Cantor.
A medical report handed to court stated that Van Rooyen’s incarceration was detrimental to his psychological well-being.
He is using chronic medication for his condition.
Pistorius said the conditions which awaiting-trial accused are subjected to are dire.
The jail is dirty and overcrowded and the accused are surrounded by noisy and dangerous prisoners.
This was contributing to Van Rooyen’s depression.
Also, the fact that in 2003, while in jail, he married the love of his life, Nelmarie van Rooyen.
But the marriage crumbled three years later and the couple divorced.
But one of the things depressing him the most, his lawyer said, is the fact that he is confined to a cell.
Pistorius said Van Rooyen’s yearning for the open veld of his Bela Bela farm weighs heavily on him.
The defence last week started with legal argument pertaining to mitigation of sentence.
This will resume on Monday, after the urgent application, when Pistorius will resume with arguments regarding Dr Lets Pretorius, one of the accused.
Pretorius is also due to take the stand to testify as to what he had lost following his arrest more than a decade ago and his subsequent conviction on treason.
Pistorius last week told the court this case is unique due to several factors, including that it is the first post-apartheid treason trial.
The case initially drew a lot of attention, but as the trial had been going on for more than a decade, public and media interest had waned, with mostly only family members now attending the trial, he told the court.