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Mandela Memorial Interpreter Burned Two Men to Death in 2003: Report

The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial, who admitted last week that he hallucinated during the memorial and reported a history of violence and mental illness, is now accused of having burned two men to death in 2003.

According to the Associated Press, which has owned this story since day one, one relative and three friends of Thamsanqa Jantjie said he was part of a group that accosted two men carrying a stolen television and placed burning tires around their necks. Two suspects were convicted for the murders, but friends say Jantjie was deemed unfit for trial, and instead was institutionalized before eventually returning home.

These reports add details to the series of charges from Jantjie’s past that emerged late last week, charges that also include kidnapping, rape, and burglary.

Jantjie first came to attention last Wednesday, after several sign language experts protested that his signing during the ceremony was effectively gibberish. Jantjie then admitted that he had suffered a hallucinatory episode during the memorial, saw angels, and panicked due to the presence of armed guards. His history of mental health issues has raised concerns about security, as Jantjie was just feet away from President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

[h/t AP]

[Image via screengrab]

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