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South Africa’s Botha Protests Postponed Trial

<i> Associated Press</i>

Former President Pieter W. Botha angrily denounced the postponement of his trial Thursday, saying it denied him a chance to respond to allegations that he authorized the killings of black activists.

The trial was postponed to June 1 to give prosecutors time to collect and deliver documents to defense lawyers that indicate a council Botha headed approved the slayings and torture of blacks.

Botha and his lawyers objected to the delay.

Botha, 82, could be imprisoned and fined if convicted of contempt for ignoring a subpoena from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is investigating apartheid-era atrocities. The trial began Wednesday after Botha rejected a deal that would have dismissed the charges in exchange for his appearance at a private commission hearing.

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