3 Whites Each Jailed for 40 Years
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Three whites were sentenced Friday to an effective 40 years in prison for helping South African commandos attack African National Congress targets in Zimbabwe.
High Court Judge Ahmed Ebrahim told Zimbabwean nationals Kevin Woods, 36, Michael Smith, 35 and Barry Bawden, 31, they were convicted of giving active and direct assistance to an unspecified number of South African raiders in May 1986, but he decided against sentencing them to death.
He sentenced each man to 70 years’ imprisonment, with 30 years to run concurrently on charges under law and order regulations.
The ANC is the main guerrilla organization fighting the white-dominated government in South Africa.
″The courts of this country are determined to play their part in taking terrorist attacks off the streets and keeping violence out of our society,″ Ebrahim said.
On May 19, 1986, South African raiders bombed offices of the ANC in downtown Harare and raked with gunfire a suburban house used by ANC officials before demolishing it with high explosives.
Both buildings were empty and no one was injured in the attacks.
Ebrahim said the three whites helped in the careful planning of the attacks and provided equipment and transport for the attacking force. After the attacks the commandos were picked up by a South African military helicopter at a remote landing strip southwest of Harare, he said.
Woods, a former senior officer in the Zimbabwe intellegence service, and Smith are already under sentence of death for involvement in a car bombing last year outside an ANC house in the second biggest city of Bulawayo.
A man hired to drive a booby-trapped car died in that blast.
Ebrahim rejected a defense application to appeal against the jail terms described by advocate John Sayce as ″manifestly excessive.″
He said the whites were convicted on capital charges relating to national security and ″if anything, we are erring on the side of leniency.″