Friday, August 17, 2007

Apartheid Official Pleads Guilty in Plot | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

re: "PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - A former government minister in charge of a police force that killed dozens of anti-apartheid activists pleaded guilty to attempted murder Friday in a plot to assassinate a church leader by lacing his clothes with poison. /Former Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok will serve no time in prison under the deal - which ended the first prosecution of a minister from the apartheid government - as long as he commits no new crimes for five years. /Vlok's former police chief, Johannes Van der Merwe, received an identical deal, in which the men will assist authorities in prosecuting other apartheid-era crimes. /Their intended victim, Frank Chikane, then secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches and now a top adviser to President Thabo Mbeki, said he has forgiven Vlok, and welcomed the deal./ ``I am pleased that this thing is over and we can move forward,'' Chikane said. ``I hope that whatever happened today can be used as a way of resolving all the outstanding issues.''
Vlok washed Chikane's feet last year as a gesture of atonement for the 1989 plot. /After the proceedings, Vlok shook hands and exchanged telephone numbers with Chikane and voiced ``sincere regret'' at the murder attempt. /``I would like to say, 'Obey the Lord and He will heal the land,'' said Vlok, 70. /
Three other former top security officials were given five-year deferred sentences that also will not go into effect if they commit no crimes for the five years..."...

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