South Africa: White men who forced black into coffin refuse bail, cite threats from black communities

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The two white men in South Africa who appeared in a viral online video forcing a black man in a coffin alive in an act of torture withdrew a bail application citing fear for their lives from angered black communities.

Willem Oostheizen and Theo Martins who appeared in court on Wednesday in the northeastern town of Middelburg will remain in custody until January 25 when their case resumes.

The footage was apparently shot on a mobile phone by one of the two white men involved in the incident.

The video caused outrage on social media with hundreds of South Africans condemning the white men’s behavior under the hash tag #coffinAlive.

The 20-second clip shows one white man shoving the black man, who makes distressed noises, into the wooden coffin and trying to force down the lid.

“Do you want to speak? Come, come. We want to throw the petrol on,” said one of the men, speaking Afrikaans.

Leftist political party The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by populist leader Julius Malema moblised a pro-black rally outside Middelburg magistrates’ in what they called a fight against white supremacy in South Africa.