AHMED TI­MOL WAS MUR­DERED, COURT RULES

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ZELDA VENTER

THE HIS­TORIC ver­dict that anti-apartheid ac­tivist Ahmed Ti­mol did not com­mit sui­cide but had in fact been mur­dered was met by spon­ta­neous ap­plause in the packed court­room.

A tear was shed by vet­eran hu­man rights lawyer Ge­orge Bi­zos, 89, the only per­son present in the court yes­ter­day, who 45 years ago – in 1972 – at­tended the orig­i­nal in­quest.

He was part of the team rep­re­sent­ing the Ti­mol fam­ily in their quest to find the truth.

An emo­tional Bi­zos thanked Judge Billy Mothle for un­cov­er­ing the truth.

He said many oth­ers had died in South Africa in sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances while in­car­cer­ated by the apartheid regime.

“I hope what has hap­pened here to­day will help them.”

The Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) promised it would do all it could to as­sist oth­ers in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to seek jus­tice.

“The NPA will en­sure that all cases that were not re­solved, are re­solved,” spokesper­son Lu­vuyo Mfaku said.

He said the NPA would as­sist other fam­i­lies still seek­ing clo­sure af­ter gath­er­ing ev­i­dence in cases where it had been de­cided that the ev­i­dence was in­suf­fi­cient to re­open an in­quest.

“The NPA is pleased with the out­come of this in­quest. It is a his­toric one. It has never hap­pened in the past. When the (Ti­mol) fam­ily ap­proached the pros­e­cu­tion author­ity for the first time, we in­di­cated that we would en­sure that th­ese mat­ters are re­solved.”

He said that from the start the NPA had in­di­cated that the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer had to do a thor­ough probe and gather suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence, so that the fam­ily could get clo­sure.

Mfaku said the judge’s find­ing was clear in this case, that there had to be an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pos­si­ble pros­e­cu­tion.

“But the find­ings were made on a bal­ance of prob­a­bil­i­ties that must be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated, so that when we get to court, we are able to prove our case beyond any doubt.”

But the ar­rest of in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in the death of Ti­mol may take some time.

Mfaku said a de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute the im­pli­cated in­di­vid­u­als would not be easy, as it will in­volve many as­pects.

“We can’t just de­cide to go and pros­e­cute a per­son. An in­quest mainly looks at the bal­ance of prob­a­bil­i­ties. This judg­ment has nar­rowed down the is­sues for us to in­ves­ti­gate.

“The court will give us its find­ings and our job will be to in­ter­view wit­nesses and there­after, as­sess if we have a strong case that can be proved beyond rea­son­able doubt,” Mfaku said.

Many are now pin­ning their hopes on this judg­ment, such as the fam­i­lies of Steve Biko and Matthews Ma­belane who was also found at the time to have jumped from the 10th floor of the no­to­ri­ous John Vorster Square po­lice sta­tion.

PIC­TURES: JAC­QUES NAUDÉ / ANA

JUS­TICE IS SERVED: Ahmed Ti­mol’s nephew, Im­tiaz Ca­jee, fi­nally gets clo­sure when the judge ruled that the death of his un­cle, anti-apartheid ac­tivist Ahmed Ti­mol, was not sui­cide but that he was in fact mur­dered in 1972.

HIS­TORIC: Judge Billy Mothle, right, de­liv­ers his judg­ment in yes­ter­day’s in­quest into the death of Ahmed Ti­mol.

TRUTH AT LAST: Ahmed Ti­mol’s nephew, Im­tiaz Ca­jee, left, with ad­vo­cate Ge­orge Bi­zos

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