South African Marikana Miners Charged With Murder


Workers arrested at South Africa's Marikana mine have been charged in court with the murder of 34 of their colleagues shot by police.
The 270 workers would be tried under the "common purpose" doctrine because they were in the crowd which confronted police on 16 August, an official said.
Police opened fire, killing 34 miners and sparking a national outcry.
Police have not been charged because a commission of inquiry would investigate their actions, the official said.
It was the most deadly police action since South Africa became a democracy in 1994.

Six of the 270 workers remain in hospital, after being wounded in the shooting at the mine owned by Lonmin, the world's third biggest platinum producer, in South Africa's North West province.
Unarmed men also charged
The other 264 workers appeared in the Ga Rankuwa magistrates court near the capital, Pretoria.
Their application for bail was rejected
About 100 people protested outside the court, demanding the immediate release of the men.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Frank Lesenyego told the reporters the 270 workers would all face murder charges - including those who were unarmed or were at the back of the crowd.
"This is under common law, where people are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack the police and a shooting takes place and there are fatalities," he said.
South Africa analyst Farouk Chothia say the decision to bring murder charges under the "common purpose" doctrine is politically controversial because the former white minority regime used it against activists fighting for democracy in South Africa.
The conflict at the mine was triggered by a dispute over pay and union recognition, which has paralysed operations for three weeks.
During a visit to the mine after the killings, President Jacob Zuma told workers he "felt their pain" and promised that a commission of inquiry would investigate the killings.
Mr Lesenyego said the commission would rule on the conduct of the police.
"It's a separate case," he said.
Police said they started shooting after being threatened by large groups of miners armed with machetes.
Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed during the protests before the police shooting.

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