Fugitive on the run dies

2016-01-20 12:38
Shuaib Sathar (23) in high court.

Shuaib Sathar (23) in high court. (File )

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Pietermaritzburg - Five years after jumping bail to avoid being sentenced for murder and attempted murder, a former Estcourt man, Mohamed Azeem Yunus, reportedly died in Swaziland last Friday after suffering a heart attack.

His body was returned to his hometown and his funeral was held at the weekend.

Police sources told The Witness Yunus’s identity was officially established and that a death certificate was issued.

Yunus’s widow, Tasneem Yunus (now living in Pietermaritzburg) confirmed by telephone yesterday that she had received word from “a relative” on Friday that her husband had died earlier that day and that arrangements were being made for his burial.

She said she attended the burial in Estcourt, which took place early on Saturday, adding, “He is the father of my three children after all”.

The widow said she had not known her husband was living in Swaziland, or for how long, and said she had not been in contact with him before his death.

She had also not asked his family for details about how they had arranged to have the body returned to South Africa so soon.

“My children and I had already moved on years ago,” she said.

Tasneem Yunus said it had been her husband’s decision to “leave” in 2010 and she respected that.

Yunus had been a fugitive from justice since the end of May 2010 when he disappeared while awaiting sentencing for the 2007 murder of Vinod Ramsarup and attempted murders of Sarah Sathar and her eight-year-old daughter, in a drive-by shooting on the N3 highway on May 17, 2007.

Yunus fired several shots into the vehicle in a desire to get revenge for the 2005 murder of his own sister, Safia Asmal (19), who was killed by Sathar’s son, Shuaib (23).

At the time Sarah Sathar was being driven to Pietermaritzburg to visit her son in prison. Vegetable seller Vinod Ramsarup, who was driving, was killed while Sarah Sathar sustained 12 gunshot wounds and her daughter was grazed four times by bullets.

At that time Shuaib Sathar was still awaiting the verdict in the trial for his cousin’s murder — he was later convicted. He is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence for killing Asmal by striking her with a dumbbell, cutting her throat and stabbing her some 13 times on September 15, 2005.

The overlapping trials of Shuaib Sathar and Azeem Yunus resulted in a bitter feud between the prominent Estcourt families.

The Witness was unable to contact Sarah Sathar and her husband, Asgur, who reportedly relocated to Port Elizabeth following their son’s sentencing.

However, the couple had expressed their bitterness after Yunus evaded justice in 2010, and said it should never have been allowed to happen.

The presiding officer, Judge Achmat Jappie (now the KZN judge president) had agreed to extend Yunus’s bail because he claimed he was suffering from a severe heart ailment.

The Sathars told The Witness at the time that they were forced to flee Estcourt in fear for their lives after Yunus was released on bail.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  trial

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