South Africa to withdraw murder charges against 270 miners
An unidentified mine workers sing a dance during their meeting at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 10:18AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 2, 2012 11:17AM EDT
JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's top prosecutor says she is withdrawing controversial murder charges against 270 miners for the killings of 34 striking co-workers shot by police.
Sunday's announcement follows a barrage of criticism from political parties, trade unions, civil society and legal experts.
Even the justice minister had challenged the decision to charge the arrested miners under an apartheid-era law that opened the government to accusations that it was acting like the former brutal white rulers.
Nomqcobo Jiba, the acting national director of public prosecutions, announced that the charges of murder and attempted murder would be formally withdrawn.
She said other charges including public violence would remain.
The Aug. 16 shootings by police killed 34 miners and wounded 78 in the worst display of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.