Detained miners all charged with murder

2012-08-30 19:56


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Johannesburg - Detained Lonmin mine workers were on Thursday charged with the murder of 34 striking colleagues who were shot dead by police on 16 August during a strike over wages.

"The court today charged all the workers with murder, under the common purpose law," National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Frank Lesenyego said.

Police opened fire on striking workers at the Marikana mine after a stand-off had already led to the death of 10 people including two police officers.

Following the shootings, 270 workers were arrested.

All the men were in custody and the case was postponed until next Thursday to allow for further investigations.

Lesenyego said details of the murder charges would be revealed during the bail hearing.

One expert, however, questioned the charges.

"In charging the miners for the death of miners killed by the police, I don't see how common purpose doctrine could be used here," said Vincent Nmehille, a law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Police have defended the shootings at the mine as self defence.

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