LPM: EMERGENCY LEGAL SUPPORT APPEAL!

28 01 2004

LANDLESS PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT (GAUTENG PROVINCE)

EMERGENCY LEGAL SUPPORT APPEAL!

“FREE THE PROTEA 7”
“LANDLESS YOUTH ACTIVISTS FACE LIFE SENTENCES WITHOUT PROPER DEFENCE”
R30,000 NEEDED URGENTLY!!!
ONLY R100 FROM 30 ACTIVISTS!!!

CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEVEN POOR & LANDLESS YOUTH ACTIVISTS SPENDING THEIR LIVES IN PRISON ON A BOGUS MURDER CHARGE OR ON THE STREETS TAKING FORWARD THE STRUGGLE AGAINST CONTINUING APARTHEID-STYLE FORCED REMOVALS, LANDLESSNESS, NEOLIBERALISM & IMPERIALISM!

The Landless People’s Movement (Gauteng) – an independent national movement of poor and landless people struggling for land reform – requests all social movement and civil society activists with regular incomes to assist us to ensure that seven of our strongest youth comrades will be able to pay for a decent legal defence in the upcoming Johannesburg High Court murder case against the LPM “Protea 7”.

The “Protea 7” – LPM Protea South Branch Youth members Walter Mnisi, Petros Malito, Vusi Khumalo, Condo Tau, Reginald Tau, Humphrey Mokabela and Bongani Xeswi – will appear in the Joburg High Court on 16-20 February, and need to confirm their ability to continue with their current attorney by Monday, 1 February. This confirmation depends almost entirely on the success of this appeal.

The “Protea 7” were arrested in early July 2003 on a bogus murder charge by the notorious Soweto Crime Intelligence Services (former apartheid Security Branch police) on the eve of the Anti-War Coalition March against the visit to South Africa by United Snakes President George Bush. The seven comrades were leading the LPM Gauteng mobilization drive for the march.

The arrests are part of the ongoing attack by the neoliberal State against social movement activists in the LPM and other social movements, which began during the run-up to the WSSD in 2002, and have continued along with increasing severity of charges. Unfortunately, the LPM, like most social movements, lacks the resources to provide private legal defence, and is forced to rely on civil society or legal aid lawyers in most cases.

The severity of the charges against the Protea 7, however, as well as the State’s decision to seek life sentences, and the seriousness of the long-term implications for both the comrades and the LPM as a movement if the comrades are convicted, make the risks of relying on over-worked and under-sympathetic legal aid lawyers to defend our comrades are extremely high. The private lawyer we hired for the bail application played a critical role in obtaining bail where a civil society lawyer we first engaged had offered us no hope. But the private lawyer needs R30,000 for one day’s preparation and the five day High Court appearance, and we have no resources for this purpose. We therefore desperately appeal to all those activists and sympathisers who can afford to do so to donate R100 each – or anything you can afford – to the defence of the Protea 7.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can call: Sam on 011-403-3803 or 083-384-0088

Or Deposit into: Landless People’s Movement

Nedbank Account #1979394660
Main Street, Johannesburg Branch
Branch Code: 197905
Beneficiary note: LPM Gauteng Legal Support

Or send a reply to this e-mail if you need further information.

Sincerely,

LPM Gauteng Chairperson Maureen Mnisi
084-706-1388

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