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Special Report Transcript Episode 8, Section 3, Time 07:09

Ironically, a few hours after this interview Niewoudt was sentenced with two other former policemen for the murder of four of their colleagues. De Bruyn stressed in his argument and litigation that his clients believed they acted in the interests of the country. // The argument was that you have people here who came into the force as youngsters and grew up in a culture of total onslaught and everybody who threatens the system is the enemy and must be wiped out or must be dealt with. And although one can never justify a crime such as murder, or any other crime, we argued that it must be mitigation that these people genuinely, even on the state case, believed that they were acting for the benefit of the country. The corollary is that in East Germany the guards at the wall, the Berlin wall, were instructed to shoot, even if innocent people tried to escape and there was a trial and they were found guilty. Academics in South Africa and overseas argue that those findings were wrong. Those people should not have been convicted because they did not believe that they were committing a crime and they also acted under orders. The sentences were very lenient. I think the longest one was close to three years or something like that. But there also, it was indoctrination, people believed that they were doing what was best for the country and they acted under orders. And we argued on that specific basis here, that the accused grew up as it were in the force, indoctrinated by this total onslaught and to defend the system at all costs.

Notes: De Bruyn interviewed

References: there are no references for this transcript

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