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Monday, 23 February, 1998, 01:36 GMT
P.W. Botha pleads not guilty to contempt charges

The former South African President, P.W. Botha, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his refusal to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is investigating crimes committed during the apartheid era.

Mr Botha's lawyer told magistrates in the small coastal town of George in Western Cape province that the Truth Commission had broken an agreement with the former president when it ordered him to appear in person, after its chairman, Desmond Tutu, had agreed he could provide written testimony instead.

He also accused the commission of conducting a witch hunt against white Afrikaners.

Magistrates adjourned the case to the middle of April.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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