25 October 2017, Johannesburg: The Foundation for Human Rights (“FHR” or “the Foundation”) welcomes the confirmation by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that it has opened three dockets to bring charges of murder, accessory to murder and perjury against former apartheid security branch officers, Joao Rodrigues (78), Neville Els (82) and Seth Sons (80) for the death of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, in 1971.
The re-opened Ahmed Timol Inquest revealed that there are more families seeking closure on unanswered questions concerning the deaths of their relatives in the hands of members of the Security Branch while in detention.
As a result of deliberate fabrication and withholding of information from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), many perpetrators of human rights violations have escaped scrutiny and responsibility for their actions.
The charges come 19 years after the TRC presented its final report. Survivors and the families of those who died in detention – Biko (Steve Biko), Mabelane (Matthew Mabelane), Simelane (Nokuthula Simelane), Aggett (Niel Aggett), among others - still do not know the truth about how their loved ones were tortured and killed.
The Foundation reiterates the view that each individual and every society has the right to know the truth about the past in order to get closure.
In his judgment, Motlhe disagreed with the ruling by JL de Villiers, an apartheid era magistrate, that Timol committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the John Voster Square, now Johannesburg Central Police Station. He is adamant that Timol was either pushed from the 10th floor or the roof top.
The family appeals to former security policemen with knowledge of the deaths of other anti-apartheid detainees to approach the victim’s families, the NPA and/or non-governmental organisations in the human rights field with a view to telling the truth, bringing closure to the families and themselves, and contributing to sustainable reconciliation between former adversaries in South Africa.
This week, the Timol family commemorates the 46th anniversary of the week in October 1971 that Timol was snatched at a police roadblock on the evening of 22 October 1971, brutally tortured over what must have been four unimaginably excruciating days, and finally murdered on 27 October 1971.
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