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Two White South African farmers jailed for forcing black man into coffin

Two white South African farmers who filmed themselves pushing a black man into a coffin have been jailed for attempted murder, assault and kidnapping.

The 20-second video, widely circulated on social media last year, shows the victim, Victor Mlotshwa, cowering inside a coffin as one man pushes the lid down and the other threatens to put petrol and a snake inside.

Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen were sentenced to 14 years and 11 years respectively.

Both had pleaded not guilty over the incident last year in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, saying they only intended to scare Mlotshwa, whom they accused of trespassing on their farm and stealing copper cables. They were convicted on 25 August.

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The case, heard at a court in Middelburg, about 100 miles east of the capital, Pretoria, has caused outrage in South Africa.

“The conduct of the accused was most dehumanising and disgusting,” said the judge, Segopotje Mphahlele, handing down the sentences. She said their behaviour raised and fuelled racial tension.

Supporters of the ruling African National Congress party, which supported Mlotshwa during the case, celebrated in the courtroom after the sentencing.

The defence requested permission to appeal, but it was not clear whether it would be granted.

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