Ahmed Timol judgment: Ex-sergeant to be probed for murder

Ahmed Timol judgment: Ex-sergeant to be probed for murder

Ahmed Timol judgment: Ex-sergeant to be probed for murder

The Pretoria high court has pointed out key lessons for a democratic South Africa‚ drawn from the reopened inquest into the death of activist Ahmed Timol at the hands of the apartheid police.

Timol's death, on October 27, 1971, was ruled a suicide following an inquest in 1972.

He found that Joao (Jan) Rodrigues, the former security police pay clerk who told the court he had seen Timol jump up and dive out of the window without saying a word, had been brought in at a later stage by the security police to cover up Timol's murder and that he had repeatedly perjured himself.

Judge Billy Motlhe yesterday set aside the findings of a 1972 inquest that found that the 29-year-old teacher, who was a South African Communist Party member who received military training in Moscow with President Thabo Mbeki, had committed suicide.

Forensic pathologists testified that Timol suffered serious injuries to his head and leg that were incompatible with his fall, and that would have made it hard for him to climb onto the window sill and jump.

He said one of the lessons from this reopened inquest was the fact that the reopening came late in the day when most of the members of the Security Branch involved with the interrogation of Timol and the investigation of Timol's death had died.

Over the course of the inquest, forensic pathologists testified that Timol's body was covered with external and internal injuries that were consistent with severe torture.

"Consequently‚ the key police witnesses who would have been called to testify again in regard to the events preceding the fall were not available". Blood vessels to the kidney were severed, leaving the Kidney floating in the body.

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