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05 Feb 2009 17:24
On Thursday night prisoners rights activist Golden Miles Bhudu (47) will bid his constituency farewell as he prepares to go home and serve from the outside—again.
After spending five months in the Johannesburg prison, Bhudu was granted bail of R10 000 on Thursday pending the outcome of a petition made by his lawyer to the Johannesburg High Court to have his conviction overturned.
Bhudu, president of the South African Prisoners’ Organisation for Human Rights (Sapohr), was late last year convicted of aiding and abiding the escape of Israeli national Moti Sabag while he [Sabag] was being transported to the Lindela repatriation centre for deportation in 2005.
Legs chained and clad in a bright orange correctional services overall, the elated Bhudu couldn’t help but hug his lawyer Lawley Shein after being granted bail by the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.
“I am pleased that he was granted bail and am confident his appeal will be successful when eventually heard,” Shein said outside court.
Bhudu’s successful bail application comes after Magistrate Syta Prinsloo slapped him and his four co-accused with an eight-year sentence and refused him leave to appeal.
“I have been accused of aiding and abetting the escape of a person who was released on parole,” Bhudu said at court.
“Having said that, I was denied my constitutional right to appeal.
To start with, I was a state witness in the case and now I am an accused in the court file.”
Prinsloo turned down Bhudu’s application for leave to appeal on September 8 last year.
When asked about conditions inside Sun City, as Johannesburg prison is known, Bhudu said: ‘The prison warders will tell you they are overworked, underpaid, overtaxed, soon they will be over the hill.
“It’s no more a prison of dehumanisation, degradation and alienation; it’s now a prison that is desperately overcrowded, where both inmates and correctional officers find themselves yearning for the system to work.”
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