Inquest into apartheid deaths hears new revelations from former officer

Armed Police

source: The Globe & Mail
published: 31 July 2017

After decades of silence, a former apartheid policeman has revealed that he faced heavy pressure to give a false version of the death of a prominent anti-apartheid activist in police custody.

The testimony at an inquest on Monday is the latest to chip away at the official version of the supposed suicide of Ahmed Timol, who fell to his death from the 10th floor of a notorious Johannesburg police station in 1971.

As it unearths the long-suppressed truth in the Timol case, the inquest is shedding new light on the horrors of the apartheid system, including a pattern of torture, death, lies and deceit. But it is also exposing gaps in earlier inquiries by South Africa’s post-apartheid government, including the much-lauded Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Mr. Timol was one of 73 South Africans who died in police detention in the final decades of apartheid. Most of those deaths have never been properly investigated, and many of the killers were never obliged to testify at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s after apartheid’s demise.

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