A 19-year-old white South African has been sentenced to four life terms in jail for killing four black people in a shooting spree in January.
Witnesses told the court that while shooting those people, among who were a three-month-old baby and a boy of 10, Johan Nel (photo, from AP) shouted racist abuse.
The killings started angry protests by thousands of people.
As he was sentenced, Mr Nel showed no emotion. Racism could not be tolerated, said the judge.
After receiving 50 death threats on their mobile phone, judge Ronald Hendricks and the prosecuting lawyer were under police protection, said Lesego Metsi, police spokesman.
All the callers were white and said judge Hendricks would be killed if he handed down a life sentence, superintendent Metsi told South Africa’s Times newspaper.
Claims that Mr Nel was mentally unfit to stand trial was earlier rejected by psychologist Kobus Truter, who said that he should be sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison.
According to Mr Truter, Mr Nel, 18 years old at the time of the shooting, believed white people were under attack after his family and friends became the victims of several violent crimes.
Most people seem pleased that Mr Nel was given life, because the shooting spree in the Skierlik settlement in a farming area of North West province really shook the nation, said the BBC’s Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg.
He adds that there have been calls to reintroduce the death penalty in the last year.
The sentence has been welcomed by the Young Communist League.
“This sends a strong message that perpetrators of heinous and racist murders will be brought to book and rot in jail”, the league said in a statement.
Mr Nel was also sentenced to 68 years on 11 counts of attempted murder, five years for holding a firearm and three years for possession of ammunition. He was told he would have to wait 25 years to negotiate parole.
His lawyers say they will appeal against the sentence.