Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ni­cola Daniels ni­cola.daniels@inl.co.za

THE fam­i­lies of Imam Ab­dul­lah Haron and Ash­ley Kriel have wel­comed the rul­ing by Judge Billy Mothle in the North Gaut­eng High Court yes­ter­day that free­dom fighter Ahmed Ti­mol was mur­dered by po­lice in cus­tody.

“We are happy for the Ti­mol fam­ily. His nephew did an amazing and an hon­ourable thing to help their fam­ily find clo­sure,” said Haron’s daugh­ter Fatiema Haron-Ma­soet.

“Now the truth can be doc­u­mented in his­tory.”

Haron was a prom­i­nent com­mu­nity leader, revo­lu­tion­ary and in­ter-faith pi­o­neer in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1971 apartheid se­cu­rity po­lice lied that Ti­mol had com­mit­ted sui­cide by jump­ing from the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square po­lice sta­tion.

Haron was re­ported dead after spend­ing four months in po­lice de­ten­tion in 1969. At the time po­lice lied that the in­juries he sus­tained were from fall­ing down a flight of stairs at the Mait­land po­lice sta­tion.

An au­topsy re­port later re­vealed 28 un­ex­plained bruises on Haron’s body in­con­sis­tent with fall­ing down stairs, haematoma (in­ter­nal bleed­ing) near the base of the spine, an empty stom­ach and that his sev­enth rib was bro­ken.

Last month marked the 48th anniversary of his killing.

Haron’s grand­son, Khalid Shamis, said: “I am very happy for the Ti­mol fam­ily, now they have some clar­ity in the eyes of the law even though they al­ways knew the truth.

“It also brings this story into the public realm again for new gen­er­a­tions to know.”

Haron-Ma­soet told the Cape Times last night: “De­spite the fact that the State ad­mit­ted that there were bruises on his body they could not ac­count for, they still said there was no foul play.”

She said the fam­ily would come to­gether to dis­cuss how the Ti­mol rul­ing would make pos­si­ble the re­open­ing of an in­quest into the death of her fa­ther.

“We will have to think about this clearly and dis­cuss it as a fam­ily,” she said.

Her big­gest con­cern was the well­be­ing of her 91-yearold mother Galiema, as she was frail and bedrid­den.

“Part of me feels we need to re­open the case to bring clo­sure to us as a fam­ily, while a part of me is con­cerned for my mom’s health and the trauma it will bring her to re­live what hap­pened to my fa­ther,” she said.

An­other con­cern was that her older brother Muhammed was a res­i­dent in Botswana and her sis­ter Shamela lived in Lon­don, which would leave her to deal with the trial and the well-be­ing of her mother on her own.

Galiema Haron was quoted in an art in­stal­la­tion by Ha­roon Gunn-Salie as say­ing that when she went to iden­tify her hus­band’s body, it seemed that half of his face was cry­ing, while the other half was smil­ing.

A hand­cuffed Kriel, from Bon­te­heuwel, a guer­rilla trained in An­gola with Umkhonto we Sizwe, was fa­tally shot in the back aged 20 in Athlone by apartheid se­cu­rity branch po­lice­man Jef­frey Ben­zien in 1987.

The Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion granted Ben­zien amnesty in 1999 de­spite him not ad­mit­ting to mur­der, but claim­ing self-de­fence.

Yes­ter­day, his fam­ily said it was time those who killed their brother be dealt with.

Kriel’s sis­ter, Michel As­sure, said: “I feel this was a great vic­tory for the Ti­mol fam­ily and I wish them all the best fur­ther in the case.”

As­sure said the NPA had re­opened Kriel’s case about a year ago but the mat­ter was “drag­ging”.

“We want to do what­ever it takes to get my brother’s killer brought to book be­fore he dies.

He never re­pented, he even lied at the TRC,” she said.

As­sure said all af­fected fam­i­lies should stand to­gether to get jus­tice for their lost loved ones.

Last night she spoke at an Ash­ley Kriel Memo­rial Lec­ture de­liv­ered by Je­nine van Rooy at Com­mu­nity House in Salt River at a hall named in her brother’s hon­our. She said: “Let Ash­ley’s story be an in­spi­ra­tion to young peo­ple. He was a peace-lov­ing per­son and re­spected gen­der equal­ity.”

This year is the 30th anniversary of his killing.

Im­tiaz Ca­jee, the nephew of Ahmed Ti­mol, said: “Fi­nally after four decades we reached a mile­stone. But once again it was an­other op­por­tu­nity for the se­cu­rity branch of­fi­cers to come out and say what really hap­pened but they re­fused. We still seek an­swers, we want the truth to give us clo­sure.”

Ca­jee said the fam­ily felt the of­fi­cers still alive in­volved in the death of his un­cle should “face the full wrath of the law”.

He said the fam­ily re­ceived sup­port from the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

“I made an ap­pli­ca­tion to the com­mis­sion in Jan­uary 2016 to ask their as­sis­tance with our re­quest to the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity to re­open the in­quest into my un­cle’s death.

“They helped us with ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing cov­er­ing all the le­gal costs,” Ca­jee said.

Judge Mothle said the in­quest also re­vealed that there were about 65 other deaths in cus­tody. Their fam­i­lies were also seek­ing clo­sure on unan­swered ques­tions re­gard­ing the death of their fam­ily mem­bers while in apartheid po­lice de­ten­tion. The judge said the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion‚ work­ing in con­sul­ta­tion with law en­force­ments agen­cies‚ “should be suf­fi­ciently re­sourced to take on the task” of as­sist­ing fam­i­lies to ob­tain and gather fur­ther information for their ini­tial in­quest to be re­opened. ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said: “The first step in jus­tice is an in­quest and that in­quest has come up with a judg­ment.

“At least there is more clar­ity on the is­sue, on what hap­pened and be­ing clear as to Ti­mol not com­mit­ting sui­cide. The sec­ond step is how can we sup­port the fam­ily.”

Man­tashe said as a so­ci­ety “I want us to dis­tance our­selves from putting fi­nan­cial val­ues to the lives of peo­ple”.

“This no­tion of money for ev­ery­thing is ac­tu­ally go­ing to cor­rupt a so­ci­ety that’s al­ready cor­rupted,” he said.

He said that re­ports that the ANC did not sup­port the fam­ily were un­true and that there were teams present dur­ing the in­quest

Pic­ture: Ahmed Ti­mol Fam­ily Trust

HAMBA KAHLE: Mourn­ers pay their last re­spects to Ahmed Ti­mol.

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