White South African farmers forced black man into coffin

#CoffinAssault: Duo jailed for attack on farmworker

A court in South Africa on Friday sentenced two white farmers guilty of attempted murder after a video emerged past year showing the defendants forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to set it on fire.

Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, who both shifted nervously in the dock, laid their heads on the bench after their sentencing while female family members wept in the public gallery.

"'The conduct of the accused was most dehumanising and disgusting", said the judge, Segopotje Mphahlele, when handing down the sentences.

Jackson was sentenced to 14 years while Oosthuizen was jailed for 11 years.

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"The conclusion of this grotesque case sends a clear - and welcome - message that acts of racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in South Africa", said Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa.

The white man persuaded the black man to climb into the coffin.

The two men filmed themselves forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to burn him alive.

They were also caught on video of threatening to throw a snake in the coffin with their terrified prisoner.

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A video of the incident went viral on social media and other platforms. The defendants said they were only trying to scare Mlotshwa, alleging that he stole copper cables from their farm.

The victim describing the coffin attack told the packed courtroom: "Accused Number 2 (Jackson) opened the coffin and told me to get into it".

Wayne Gibbs, one of the advocates representing the pair, said their clients could not say they were sorry for attempted murder‚ because they did not try to kill him.

Throughout, the two white men yell in Afrikaans and Zulu, which is spoken mainly by black South Africans, and some white farmers, in an area of the country where violence on farms is common.

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