A file picture of Boeremag accused Wilhelm Pretorius. Picture: ANA Archives
Pretoria - Nearly six years after they were sentenced to lengthy jail terms, three of the Boeremag accused will turn to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, today for an urgent order to be temporarily released.

This is pending the outcome of an application before the UN Human Rights Commission for their release.

Riëtte Pretorius, the young wife of Dr Wilhelm Pretorius, launched an urgent application on behalf of her husband, father in-law Dr Lets Pretorius and her brother-in-law Dr Johan Pretorius.

The three were sentenced in 2013 alongside their co-accused to lengthy jail terms. Lets received an effective 20 years and the two brothers 25 years each. The third Pretorius brother, master bombmaker Kobus, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, 10 of which were suspended.

He, however, broke away from the family during the trial and his sister-in-law is not asking for his urgent release.

Riëtte, part of the Boervin organisation which is fighting for the release of Boer political prisoners, married Wilhelm in jail. They met during the trial and the young bride will in an unrelated application at a later stage ask for her conjugal rights to be recognised by the prison authorities.

But for now, she and her lawyer, an international renowned academic and jurist, will ask the court to “protect her constitutional and international acknowledged right of association and protection of her family”.

She said the temporary release is requested, pending the complaint by the Pretorius family before the UN committee. “The complaint can take up to four years before being finalised,” she said.

She added that this meant that her family, who have already been in jail for 17 years - the time before and after sentencing - must endure another four years “of infringement of (our) rights”. She remained positive that the UN committee would order their release.

She said in court papers that due to the judicial foundation of their complaint, the UN committee could not come to another conclusion.

According to her, the incarceration was unlawful, as five years after their sentence, they could still not succeed in launching an appeal as they could not obtain the entire case record from the State. She also complained that the two assessors who assisted Judge Eben Jordaan at the time remained on the Bench until sentencing. The law determined that they only serve until the verdict, she said.

The Boeremag was post-apartheid’s first treason trial. The Boeremag members were said to be on a quest to overthrow the new government.

They planted a host of bombs, among other things, one of which killed a woman. They also conspired to kill Nelson Mandela, but this plan was never carried out.

Pretoria News