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White S. African Gets 25 Yrs. for Treason

November 06, 1986|Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A white African National Congress guerrilla who pleaded guilty to treason and arson charges and admitted she bombed police stations was sentenced today to 25 years in prison.

"Had lives been lost, you would almost certainly have received the death sentence," Justice P. J. Van der Walt told Marion Sparg as he passed sentence on her.

As Van der Walt pronounced sentence, some spectators in court shouted "amandla, " the Zulu word for "power."

Sparg, 28, a former reporter, pleaded guilty Monday in Rand Supreme Court.

She admitted she planted limpet mines at three police stations early this year, causing two explosions, and said she took part in gasoline-bomb attacks in 1981 on offices of the opposition Progressive Federal Party.

The prosecutor had asked for life imprisonment. Sparg's attorney, Jules Browde, asked for mercy, saying his client considered herself a soldier and patriot.

Van der Walt described Sparg as a dedicated and unrepentant member of the ANC's military wing.

"The fact that as a white South African you chose to espouse the cause of revolution I regard as an aggravating feature," the judge said.

Sparg told police the mines were aimed at "structures" of apartheid, and that she believed she acted on behalf of most blacks and an increasing number of South African whites.

The outlawed ANC is the main black guerrilla group fighting apartheid, under which South Africa's 24 million blacks are denied a voice in the national government.

Throughout the trial Sparg wore a black suit with a green shirt, and today she completed the ANC colors by wearing a yellow ribbon. A sympathizer handed her a yellow scarf and bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums.

Three white women previously have been convicted of treason.

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