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“I am not the worst inmate,” Thabo Bester pleads in court

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Tlholohelo Mosala

Notorious prison breaker Thabo Bester appeared at the Bloemfontein High Court on Wednesday and told the court that he is treated unfairly despite being tried on lesser ‘counts’.

Bester and eight co-accused appeared in court, and the judge granted him an opportunity to address the court directly.

He told the judge that the political issues have overtaken the case and that the other accused were being punished for the things they know nothing about.

“I am not the worst inmate in this country. I don’t have the highest count (of charges), I only have three counts, but I am the most popular (notorious) inmate in this country for no reason, because of the political issues I have in my personal capacity that have got nothing to do with these legal proceedings,” he said.

Bester said the popularity of his case has made it difficult for him to find legal representation because lawyers are reluctant to take up his case because they fear tainting their careers by subjecting themselves to public scrutiny.

“It is very difficult for me to appoint an attorney; an attorney would cancel the brief on the basis that says ‘I don’t want to be associated with Thabo Bester because the media will attack me.

“I have had five counsels who told me that ‘I would love to be in your case, but I will be in the background, I cannot be seen in front, because you are Thabo Bester, the media will destroy me and the state will never give me any work.” Bester said this while asking for clarity if that is in any way fair and equal to how other inmates are being treated.

He pleaded with the judge to issue a petition for the public to sign and demand a death sentence to end all his misery.

“I am saying this as a broken man… If the public is so convinced and the prosecution is so convinced that I am the waste of these people’s lives that this section be enforced on a petition… that the public signs a petition and I will be given a death sentence immediately,” he said.

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