January 8, 1998 in Nation/World

Botha Faces Charges For Ignoring Subpoena

Compiled From Wire Services

Apartheid-era President P.W. Botha will be prosecuted for refusing to appear before South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an attorney general said .

The decision by Western Cape Attorney General Frank Kahn marks the first time a former South African head of state has faced criminal prosecution.

Botha, the former leader of white-ruled South Africa, could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine if convicted of ignoring a truth commission subpoena - something he has done three times.

Kahn’s announcement represents a major victory for the truth commission, which was created to bring out the truth about atrocities committed by all sides in South Africa’s apartheid struggle.

Botha’s defiance had threatened the credibility of the truth commission.

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