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Pretoria - The lead prosecutor in the Boeremag treason trial has welcomed the 20 men's sentences, which range from five to 48-years' imprisonment.
Fourteen of the men were sentenced to in effect five to 25 years' imprisonment, five received wholly suspended sentences, and one, who had suffered a series of strokes, was not sentenced.
Afterwards, lead prosecutor Paul Fick SC said he felt the trial had been worth it, despite the death threats he received over the past decade.
He said the trial had been fair and that the community ought to be satisfied.
Fick said it was a difficult, drawn-out trial and he had often worked long hours into the night.
This had resulted in him not being able to spend as much time with his family as he wanted.
“I'm happy it's over,” he said.
Piet Pistorius, who represented several of the accused including Dr Lets Pretorius, also expressed relief that the trial was over.
He said he had yet to receive instructions on the way forward, which could include applications for leave to appeal against the men's convictions and sentences.
Paul Kruger, who represented the oldest Boeremag member Vis Visagie, said an application would probably follow to have Visagie released under house arrest, as he had severe health problems.
With the conclusion of the trial, it felt as if a mountain had been lifted off his shoulders, he said.
Kruger said he was thankful that his other client, Pieter van Deventer, had received a suspended sentence and that the court had decided not to sentence Fritz Naude, who was in an old age home after suffering several strokes.
He felt the sentences were reasonably balanced, but he had hoped that Visagie would have been able to go home immediately.
Several of the accused's relatives expressed shock at the sentences.
The most vocal wife was Ester du Toit, whose husband Mike received a 20-year sentence.
“We have an 11-year-old child. How will I explain this to her? I will tell her her father is a man who stood up for the Boer nation,” she said.
Du Toit said she had not been aware of any coup plot, but had known that her husband attended meetings to forge plans to protect farmers against attacks.
Kobus Pretorius's spiritual worker Sonja Jordaan said she regarded the sentences as just, given what the accused had done.
She said it was hard for her that Pretorius had to go back to jail, but she would support him all the way.
“I know he's going to be okay and that jail won't hold him back. I am very proud of him that he managed to break with the past,” she said.