Fam­ily’s ag­o­nis­ing wait nearly over

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - Zelda Ven­ter

TODAY is ex­pected to be a his­toric day for the fam­ily of anti-apartheid ac­tivist Ahmed Ti­mol, as they hope to re­ceive the an­swers and jus­tice they have been await­ing for the past 46 years.

The Pre­to­ria High Court will de­liver its judg­ment then dur­ing the re­opened in­quest into Ti­mol’s death.

Judge Billy Mothle is ex­pected to make a find­ing as to who was re­spon­si­ble for his death and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity in this re­gard.

Ti­mol died in Oc­to­ber 1971 af­ter fall­ing from the 10th floor of the no­to­ri­ous John Vorster Square po­lice sta­tion in Joburg. The orig­i­nal in­quest ac­cepted the ver­sion of Se­cu­rity Branch of­fi­cers that he had com­mit­ted sui­cide by jump­ing out of the win­dow. But Ti­mol’s fam­ily never ac­cepted this. His nephew, Im­tiaz Ca­jee, and brother, Mo­ham­mad Ti­mol, in par­tic­u­lar re­fused to let go of their quest for truth and jus­tice. Their tenac­ity re­sulted in the court re­open­ing the in­quest, dur­ing which a se­ries of wit­nesses tes­ti­fied over about a month.

From the start, the fam­ily said they were only in­ter­ested in the truth and were not seek­ing ret­ri­bu­tion. They main­tained that if the truth was dis­closed, they would not seek pros­e­cu­tion.

But they changed their stance as the ev­i­dence un­folded and it was clear that those Se­cu­rity Branch of­fi­cials who were in­volved in Ti­mol’s de­ten­tion had lied about the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death.

The hand­ful of for­mer of­fi­cers who are still alive and were called to the wit­ness stand – most of them deep in their sev­en­ties – stuck to their guns that Ti­mol and oth­ers in his po­si­tion were never tor­tured. This, even though med­i­cal ev­i­dence proved that Ti­mol had suf­fered a num­ber of in­juries be­fore he fell to his death.

The Ti­mol fam­ily are now seek­ing jus- tice against those cov­er­ing up crimes com­mit­ted against Ti­mol. For­mer Se­cu­rity Branch of­fi­cer Jan Ro­drigues, who was with Ti­mol just be­fore he fell to his death, said Ti­mol had jumped..

AC­TIVIST: Ahmed Ti­mol

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