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South Africa court sentences members of extremist group

A South African court on Tuesday sentenced 20 members of white supremacist group Boeremag [backgrounder] to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years in the nation's first post-apartheid [Cornell LII backgrounder] treason trial. The extremist group is responsible [AP report] for nine bombings in Johannesburg's Soweto township in 2002. Earlier, the court convicted the 20 men of murder, terrorism and high treason after a 10 year trial. The convictions also relate to an alleged plot to stage a coup and assassinate Nelson Mandela [advocacy website], elected president of South Africa when white minority rule ended in 1994. The Boeremag bombings were allegedly aimed at creating instability and panic to allow the group to unseat the ruling African National Congress [official website].

Issues related to the apartheid-era continue to arise both abroad and in South Africa, Africa's largest democracy. In July 2012 the North Gauteng High Court at Pretoria in South Africa convicted [JURIST report] Mike du Toit, leader of Boeremag, after a nine-year trial. In September 2011 a South African court found [JURIST report] the controversial African National Congress Youth League President Julius Malema guilty of hate speech for singing the apartheid-era protest song "Shoot the Boer." In January 2010 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard arguments [JURIST report] in an appeal by multi-national corporations accused of assisting the South African government during the apartheid-era. The corporations, which include IBM, Ford Motor Co., Daimler and General Motors Corp., were accused of aiding human rights abuses committed by the South African government by continuing to do business with the country, despite knowledge that their products were being used to support apartheid.

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