‘Dr Death violated human rights’

2014-11-26 16:19

Local healthcare practitioners have called on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to impose the harshest sentence on Dr Wouter, who is dubbed Dr Death.

The 230 clinicians say Basson showed no remorse throughout his disciplinary hearing where he was being tried for the role he played as the head of Project Coast, a chemical and biological warfare research unit operated by the apartheid government. The programme was used to conduct and manufacture poisonous substances which were used by the national defence force to fight enemies of the state.

Leading evidence in aggravation of sentence, Section 27 executive director Mark Heywood presented the petition signed by 230 medical professionals and human rights organisations which calls for Basson to be struck off the roll. If the HPCSA struck him off the roll it would mean that he would no longer be able to practise as a doctor in South Africa or anywhere in the world.

Heywood said Basson had maintained his innocence and, “had not acknowledged any wrongdoing on his part”.

He explained that this was not his view but the view of the clinicians and human rights organisations.

“The people and organisations that signed the petition believe that Basson violated human rights. He manufactured harmful substances which could have harmed humans (and) therefore going against what doctors stand for,” he said.

During his tenure at Project Coast, Basson manufactured and provided chemical substances to the SA Defence Force for use in combat, kidnapping and suicide missions. His role was to coordinate the production of drugs, toxic teargas and disorientation chemicals. He also supplied the deadly cyanide capsules to the army commanders to distribute to members of special forces to use to commit suicide if they get caught on a mission.

Throughout his hearing at the HPCSA which began in November 2007 Basson maintained his innocence. He did however admit that he coordinated production and supplied chemical substances but justified his actions by saying that he did it as a soldier not a doctor therefore did not act unethically.

The HPCSA found him guilty on four charges of unprofessional conduct in December last year. His sentencing only began today following numerous postponements.

The hearing continues tomorrow and Friday where Heywood and other prosecution witness will take the stand and be cross-examined by the defence.

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