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By Ilse de Lange


Dockets opened against Timol witnesses

This follows Judge Billy Motlhe's ruling earlier this month that Timol had not committed suicide.

The police have opened dockets against three former security policemen allegedly involved in the cover-up of the 1971 murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol.

This follows after Judge Billy Motlhe earlier this month ruled that Timol had not committed suicide, as found by a 1972 inquest, but was murdered while being interrogated by members of the security police at John Vorster Square.

The judge found that Timol was either thrown out of a 10th story window or from the roof of the building.

He recommended that three former security policemen who gave evidence in the reopened inquest faced charges of perjury, and in the case of former pay clerk Sergeant Jan Rodrigues, 78, as an accessory after the fact to murder.

Timol’s family yesterday said they had received correspondence from the National Prosecuting Authority confirming that the police had received instructions to open three dockets pursuant the cover-up of the 1971 murder.

They said it appeared that the investigating officer had already made considerable progress in the compilation of the docket.

The family said they would this week commemorate the 46th anniversary of the week in October 1971 when Timol was arrested at a police roadblock, brutally tortured over what must have been four unimaginably excruciating days, and finally murdered.

“For 46 years, the family has commemorated the loss under a cloud of official lies about the circumstances of his death, and for 46 years the police involved in murdering and covering up their crime have evaded responsibility.

“For 46 years, the Timol family has not sought vengeance or retribution. It has sought only the truth, and for the lies to be expunged from the record books. Living under the shadow of lies is an injustice.

“The police who murdered and covered up Ahmed Timol’s death might have contributed to the family’s – and society’s – healing and closure had they admitted to their actions and applied for amnesty to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Instead, most went to their graves with the burdens of their unacknowledged guilt.

“The security policemen who testified to the reopened inquest, even those not directly implicated in Timol’s killing or the cover-up, chose not to deviate from the official security police line. They saw, heard or spoke no evil, they said, they only saw it on the news.

“Their attitude under cross-examination at the reopened inquest was a matter of considerable disappointment to the family,” they said in a statement.

Timol’s family appealed to former security policemen with knowledge of the deaths of other anti-apartheid detainees to approach the victim’s families, the NPA or nongovernment organisations in the human rights field with a view to tell the truth so that they could bring closure to the families and themselves, and contributing to sustainable reconciliation between former adversaries in South Africa.

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