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South African police go on trial for killing protestor

Published on 23/04/2012

The trial of seven South African police officers charged for a deadly attack on a protestor started Monday with the court shown video footage of his brutal beating.

The officers were arrested for attacking unarmed 33-year-old Andreas Tatane with batons during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg on April 13 last year.

The footage showed riot police beating Tatane during a march to municipal offices in the eastern Free State town during several days of protests in which roads were blocked and tyres set alight, the Sapa news agency reported.

A state witness’ testinomy that Tatane was beaten until he was on his knees, after which the officers continued to hit him, caused him to break down in tears with the victim’s wife and family, leading to a short adjournment.

Tatane’s death sparked a national outrage after state-owned television aired the graphic recording of armed officers striking and kicking him.

All seven of the officers were charged with murder and assault and have pleaded not guilty, Sapa reported.