Mur­der most foul

A his­toric judg­ment yes­ter­day in the High Court in Pre­to­ria finds that ac­tivist Ahmed Ti­mol did not com­mit sui­cide in 1971, but was tor­tured and mur­dered by apartheid-era po­lice.

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE - Ilse de Lange – news@ci­ti­zen.co.za

Spon­ta­neous ap­plause yes­ter­day greeted a his­toric judg­ment in the High Court in Pre­to­ria when Judge Billy Mothle ruled anti-apartheid ac­tivist Ahmed Ti­mol had not com­mit­ted sui­cide, but was tor­tured and mur­dered by mem­bers of the apartheid gov­ern­ment’s se­cu­rity branch.

In a first in South African his­tory, Judge Mothle yes­ter­day over­turned the find­ing of a 1972 in­quest that Ti­mol, a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the SA Com­mu­nist Party, had com­mit­ted sui­cide on Oc­to­ber 27, 1971, by jump­ing out of a tenth-storey win­dow at John Vorster Square in Jo­han­nes­burg and that no per­son was re­spon­si­ble for his death.

The in­quest was re­opened af­ter a long bat­tle, led by Ti­mol’s nephew Im­tiaz Ca­jee, who was only five when his un­cle was mur­dered.

Judge Mothle found that Ti­mol did not jump, but had been pushed out of ei­ther a tenth-storey win­dow or from the roof of John Vorster Square while be­ing in­ter­ro­gated and tor­tured by the late cap­tains Hans Gloy and Faan van Niek­erk of the se­cu­rity po­lice.

Be­cause the in­ter­roga­tors have all died, the real events lead­ing to the push could, how­ever, not be es­tab­lished.

He found that all mem­bers of the se­cu­rity branch in­volved with the in­ter­ro­ga­tion and who guarded Ti­mol were col­lec­tively re­spon­si­ble for the in­juries he sus­tained be­fore his fall and that the in­juries were in­flicted through sys­tem­atic and con­tin­u­ous tor­ture.

The judge said it was prob­a­ble that the se­cu­rity branch had fore­seen that their meth­ods of in­ter­ro­ga­tion car­ried the risk of death, but they per­sisted un­re­strained.

Judge Mothle found that Joao (Jan) Ro­drigues, the for­mer se­cu­rity po­lice pay clerk who tes­ti­fied that he had seen Ti­mol jump, had been brought in after­wards to cover up Ti­mol’s mur­der and he had com­mit­ted per­jury by ly­ing in both in­quests. He was there­fore an ac­ces­sory af­ter the fact to the mur­der.

He rec­om­mended that Ro­dri- gues should be pros­e­cuted.

He also rec­om­mended that for­mer se­cu­rity cops Neville Els and Seth Sons should be in­ves­ti­gated for mis­lead­ing the court that they knew noth­ing about the as­sault on de­tainees other than what they had read in the me­dia.

LONG JOUR­NEY. Ahmed Ti­mol’s nephew Im­tiaz Ca­jee dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings in the Ahmed Ti­mol in­quest in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day. Ca­jee was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting the in­quest re­opened.

JOY. Ahmed Ti­mol’s younger brother Mo­hamed Ti­mol, right, Es­sop Pa­had, cen­tre, and Im­tiaz Ca­jee cel­e­brate af­ter Judge Billy Mothle’s judg­ment on the in­quest.

Pic­tures: Re­filwe Modise

JUS­TICE AT LAST. Ad­vo­cate Ge­orge Bi­zos out­side the court yes­ter­day. Judge Billy Mothle found the anti-apartheid ac­tivist was mur­dered.

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