Africa

South African policemen guilty of murdering Mido Macia

Protesters hold on 8 March 2013 portraits of Mido Macia, a Mozambican taxi driver, outside the Benoni court where police officers charged with murdering him appeared. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The brutal killing of the taxi driver sparked protests

A South African court has convicted eight policemen of murdering a Mozambican taxi driver who was tied and dragged behind a police van in 2013.

The judge said there was no doubt that the police could have foreseen that their actions would cause the death of 27-year-old Mido Macia.

The incident, recorded on video by a bystander, caused widespread revulsion at the time.

Rights groups have often accused South Africa's police of brutality.

President Jacob Zuma condemned the incident as "horrific" and "unacceptable".

The video showed Mr Macia struggling with police on 26 February 2013 after apparently parking his vehicle illegally in Daveyton, east of the city of Johannesburg.

Police officers then overpowered the taxi driver and tied him to the back of a van by his arms before driving off, the footage showed.

Mr Macia later died in police custody, the prosecution said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption South Africa's police have often been accused of brutality

The policemen had pleaded not guilty to murder.

They said Mr Macia had fallen out of the van and the handcuffs "accidentally hooked on to the back on the van".


Analysis: Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Johannesburg

The numerous cases against some in the South African Police Service over the years have tainted their reputation here.

If they are not in the news for bungling investigations, it's for alleged involvement with crime syndicates or police brutality.

The ruling against the eight policemen in this particular case has been welcomed as a victory for many who have been victims of assault at the hands of police officers.

The ruling may even go some way in showing those who are entrusted with enforcing the law that they are not above it.

Magistrate Pieter du Plessis in court emphasised the principle that people have rights, even during an arrest - rights that some in the police often flout.

He lambasted the police for not ensuring that Mido Macia got the medical care he needed. For the Macia family, who were in court for the first time today - the sense that justice has been done may help to bring them healing.


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