AHMED TIMOL WAS MURDERED, COURT RULES
Judge finds it was murder and rejects suicide
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 indi- viduals 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.
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