Ahmed Timol murder: No verdict yet in stay of prosecution bid

2019-04-08 19:00
Joao Jan Rodrigues. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Joao Jan Rodrigues. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Apartheid-era cop Joao "Jan" Rodrigues will have to wait a little longer to find out whether his application for a stay of prosecution, in connection with the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, is successful.

This, after the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg postponed the application to May 9.

Timol's nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, confirmed the postponement.

"The criminal case that was due to commence today has now been postponed to May 9, 2019 for the way forward," he said.

It is Rodrigues' case that he should benefit from the amnesty former president Nelson Mandela granted, or an agreement reached at the highest level of government that politically motivated crimes preceding 1994 would not be prosecuted.

READ: 5 decades on, family of Chief Albert Luthuli seeks answers about his death

Timol was arrested in 1971 at the age of 29. The police in the interrogation room at the time, who included Rodrigues, said the young Roodepoort teacher and activist threw himself out of a window from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square, now known as the Johannesburg police station.

His family refused to believe this and in 2017, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) held another inquest which overturned the 1972 finding that he had died by suicide.

Rodrigues also argued that there was an enormous delay on the part of the State to proceed with the prosecution against the applicant of more than 47 years, and prosecuting him now would infringe on his basic rights.

The family of former ANC president Inkosi Albert Luthuli, and that of Black Consciousness Movement Founder Steve Biko, are watching proceedings.

On paper, Luthuli died in 1967 after he was hit by a train on a railway bridge close to the home he had been confined to by the apartheid regime in Groutville.

"We have always believed what the apartheid government said about our grandfather was a lie," said Luthuli's grandson, Mthunzi Luthuli.

Timol and Biko, are just some of 73 anti-apartheid activists who died in detention between 1963 and 1990.

Biko died in a prison cell in Pretoria in September, 1977.

Should Rodrigues stand trial, it may lead to further inquests on behalf of other families who believe that their loved ones were killed in police custody.

Luthuli's family have already indicated to News24 that they have begun private investigations in an attempt to have the struggle stalwart's inquest reopened.

Also keeping a close eye on Timol's case is the family of late anti-apartheid activist, Imam Abdullah Haron, who also want to have an inquest into his "mysterious death" reopened.

Haron was said to have tripped down a flight of stairs and died while in solitary confinement after being detained under the disreputable apartheid security laws in 1969.

The family did not accept the reasons given for his death.

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Read more on:    joao rodrigues  |  ahmed timol  |  crime  |  courts
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