Tatane six in custody over Easter

2011-04-18 12:53

The six policemen accused of killing Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane will spend the Easter weekend behind bars, the Ficksburg Regional Court decided today.

It postponed the case against them until April 26 after a long delay while the high-profile matter was moved from a small courtroom to one large enough to accommodate Tatane’s family, the media and spectators.

When the hearing eventually started, defence lawyer Koos de Beer requested magistrate Phillip Visser to ban from the courtroom all cameras, video cameras and cellphones able to take pictures.

De Beer said the case of the six policemen could be “severely hampered” if their faces were allowed to appear in the media all over the world.
While he spoke, sobs could be heard from the front row of the public gallery, where Tatane’s family was sitting.

De Beer asked the court to instruct and warn the media and people in the gallery not to take any photographs.

“This case has already attracted a lot of media attention, unfortunately,” said De Beer.

Visser adjourned the court for 10 minutes and instructed the court orderly to make sure that there were no video cameras and cameras in the courtroom when he returned.

The orderly was also instructed to make sure no-one used their cellphones to take pictures.

When Visser returned, the six policemen had been brought into the court.

They covered their heads and faces with clothing, some using hoods, one using a black beanie and another, a small blue hat.

They stood with their heads bowed, staring at the ground while the magistrate postponed the case.

When they left the court, the same way they came in, they again tried to cover their faces.

As they were being led out, Tatane’s wife, Rose, stood up and shouted at them. She then sat down and cried.

Crowds sang outside the court and reacted angrily to police on the scene, slamming police vehicles with their hands and shouting at officers.

“Julle moer [Stuff you]”, read a placard held up by a resident. “You kill our heroes,” read another.

Tatane was killed, allegedly by a group of policemen, on Wednesday after challenging them to spray him with a water cannon.

The police officers allegedly shot Tatane and beat him during a peaceful service delivery protest on Wednesday.

SABC television footage showed a group of policemen beating Tatane with batons, after which he was seen holding his chest and looking down at blood on his chest.

He collapsed and died 20 minutes later.

The residents of Meqheleng township were marching to the Ficksburg municipal offices to hand over a memorandum relating to service delivery issues when the incident took place.

The protesters have given local government authorities until Thursday to meet their demands.

The six policemen were arrested on Saturday.

Four of them face charges of assault and two others face murder charges.

The African National Congress welcomed their arrests, but again criticised the media for broadcasting the footage of his death.

The Independent Complaints Directorate would not confirm a Beeld report that two rubber bullets had been removed from Tatane’s body during a post mortem.?

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