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Baha'i Church Shooting Verdicts in


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Two suspects in the politically charged killing of three people at a 1994 racially integrated church service were found guilty of murder on Monday.

The court rejected defense arguments that the suspects -- members of the militant Azanian People's Liberation Army -- were innocent because they acted on politically motivated orders.

Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Dumisane Ncamazana, 20, and Zukile Augustine Mbambo, 26, have applied for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that finished its investigation of human rights abuses during the apartheid era last year and is still considering amnesty applications.

Amnesty can be granted for politically motivated crimes and if applicants are deemed to be telling the full truth.

The attack took place on the eve of South Africa's first all-race vote, a period when hundreds died in pre-election violence.

Six black gunmen interrupted a crowded church service in the black township of Mdantsane, on South Africa's southeast coast. They lined up the only three whites present against a wall and killed them, witnesses said.

The victims were Riaz Razazi of King Williams Town; Shaman Bakhshandegi of Mdantsane; and Hooshman Anvari, a U.S. citizen from North Richland Hills, Texas, who was living in Beacon Bay. All three were born in Iran.

Baha'i adherents believe all independent religions derive from one God. Baha'i churches in South Africa had been integrated for 40 years before the slayings.

The Azanian People's Liberation Army opposed the April 1994 elections that ended white-minority rule, saying the white government should have handed over power to the black majority.

©Copyright, Associated Press

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