Basson requests Twitter probe

2012-04-01 14:32

Johannesburg - Cardiologist Wouter Basson has instructed his legal team to investigate a false Twitter account opened in his name, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

His legal team viewed the Twitter account as a serious threat to Basson's personal safety, the Rapport newspaper reported.

On Wednesday, Basson's legal team asked the prosecutor in a hearing of the Health Professions Council of SA to withdraw from the record his allegation that Basson and the SA Defence Force (SADF) waged a chemical war against the South African population.

Basson described the "wild" submission as "scary, because it never happened".

Basson is appearing before the HPCSA on four charges of unprofessional and unethical conduct.

The charges relate to his conduct as a medical doctor when he headed the country's chemical and biological warfare research programme for the SADF force in the 1980s and early 1990s, during the apartheid era.

Feel threatened

On the fake Twitter profile, Basson's hobbies are listed as including chemical and biological warfare against historically disadvantaged South Africans.

Basson was the former head of the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme Project Coast.

"You can imagine what the uninformed members of the public think about it [the submission]. I immediately felt threatened because I have had good relationships with the South African population in the past few years," he told Rapport.

"At a point (from 1997 to 2002), I was in a witness protection programme the government placed me in during and just after the (criminal trial).

"But we went to trouble to set at ease all the people who were possibly angry with me.

"And now, suddenly, this man [the prosecutor, advocate Salie Joubert SC] makes an allegation that we waged a chemical war against the population.

Puts lives in danger

"You can now think how easy it is to abuse such a submission to whip up a few guys to say go and kill him."

He claimed the submission also placed other people's lives in danger.

According to Rapport, Basson previously laid charges at the Brooklyn police station, in Pretoria, over a similar false Facebook page set up under his name. It had since been closed.

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