Winnie Mandela was sentenced Tuesday to six years in jail for her role in kidnapping four black youths in 1988 and for being an accessory after the fact to their beatings at her home.

Mandela, who had faced a possible death sentence for her kidnapping conviction, received five years in jail for the kidnapping and one year on her conviction for being an accessory to the beatings.Mandela, the wife of African National Congress Deputy President Nelson Mandela, was found guilty Monday of the charges stemming from the abduction of the youths from a church hostel in December 1988 and their subsequent beatings.

Nelson Mandela, who had been by his wife's side during her conviction Monday, was not present Tuesday for the sentencing by Judge Michael Stegmann.

Earlier Tuesday, chief state prosecutor Jan Swanepoel said Mandela should be jailed for her role in the case.

Swanepoel said Mandela was in a position of authority over those who carried out the kidnapping and knew of the brutal

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beatings they inflicted on the four youths.

"Therefore, her moral blameworthiness is much higher than that of the other perpetrators," Swanepoel said.

Referring to her past role as a black leader, especially during her husband's long imprisonment, he said, "Although she is in a leadership position, she should be treated as an ordinary citizen."

Swanepoel pointed out kidnapping is punishable by death and cited a case in which a first offender got 16 years in jail even though he, like Mandela, was not convicted of mistreating his victims.

He said Mandela showed no compassion for the kidnapped youths, and "not one of the accused has shown any remorse." He recommended jail for co-defendant Xoliswa Falati, but a suspended sentence for 62-year-old John Morgan, Mandela's driver, who drove the bus in which the four were kidnapped.

Mandela's attorney, however, said the damage to Winnie Mandela's reputation inflicted during the trial of her bodyguard last year was punishment enough.

Mandela's bodyguard, Jerry Richardson, was sentenced last August to die for murdering one of the four kidnapped youths, 14-year-old James "Stompie" Moeketsi Seipei.

Mandela's trial, and the controversy surrounding it, has pushed her reputation in South Africa's black townships to an all-time low.

Once known as "the mother of the nation" by blacks, she was last month unable to muster the votes to come near winning the presidency of the ANC's Women's League, which went to veteran campaigner Gertrude Shope. Shope reportedly got twice as many votes as Mandela.