Pretoria, 13 October 2017: The Foundation for Human Rights (“FHR” or “Foundation”) welcomes the judgement handed down by Judge Billy Motlhe, in the Ahmed Timol Inquest, in the Gauteng North High Court.
Delivering the judgment in a courtroom filled with activists, members of the South African Communist Party and the Khulumani Support Group, among others, Judge Motlhe, disagreed with the ruling of apartheid magistrate, JL de Villiers, in which he found that Timol committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the John Voster Square, now Central Johannesburg Police Station. The judge was adamant that Timol was either pushed from the 10th floor or the roof top.
We commend Judge Motlhe for calling for an investigation into Joao Rodrigues, a former Security Branch member who was the last person to see Timol alive, for giving conflicting testimonies during the first inquest in 1972 and in another inquest in 2017.
The inquest revealed that there are many more families who are seeking closure on the unanswered questions concerning the death of their relatives in detention. The judge somehow reiterated the Foundation’s view that the survivors and the families of those who died in detention need to know the truth about how their loved ones were tortured and killed so that they can get closure on what he terms “a painful chapter in their lives”. This is because each individual and every society has the inalienable right to know the truth about the past.
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 Foundation believes that truth has to be recorded not by the perpetrators but by their victims to enjoy any sense of credibility.
The Foundation is also of the view that links needs to be made between the perpetrators of apartheid and the institutional culture of impunity that remains a key element of how certain elements of the state function such as the security forces and intelligence. At the heart of the matter is whether these institutions were ever dismantled from its apartheid structures. These are important questions which the new South Africa is dealing with.
To view the full judgement, refer to www.fhr.org.za/index.php/download_file/1315.
The Foundation for Human Rights
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