A South African court has sentenced four men to 18 years in imprisonment after finding them guilty of stabbing and stoning a lesbian girl to death in 2006.
Magistrate Raadiyah Wathen of the Khayelitsha Regional Court, sentenced Lubabalo Ntlabathi, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Londzi, and Mbulelo Damba to 18 years each in prison, Xinhua reported.
Wathen said while taking into account the fact that the accused were aged just 16 and 17 when they murdered Zoliswa Nkonyana, 19, she also observed that none of them expressed remorse to the victim's family.
"Sentencing involving youths is the most difficult. The court must take into account several factors [including] the seriousness and nature of the offence and personal circumstances," she said. "This court takes the sentencing of human life very seriously."
The trial drew national attention as it dragged on for years with numerous postponments. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila hailed the conviction as an indication that any hate crime would not go unpunished.
"We asked the presiding officer to sentence the men to no less than 15 years in prison as they committed a heinous crime, killed a young woman because she was living openly as a lesbian, never showed any remorse or accepted responsibility for what they have done," said Ntabazalila.