The High Court in Pretoria has ordered that the last security branch officer to see Ahmed Timol alive be investigated for murder as an accessory after the fact and perjury.
An anti-apartheid activist who died in 1971 was tortured and killed by South African police, a court said Thursday, a landmark decision that raised hopes that dozens of similar cases would be investigated.
The original 1972 inquest had found that Timol had committed suicide by jumping from the 10 floor of the John Vorster Square police building.
Dr Shakeera Holland had explained that Timol's fractured skull would have left him unconscious, making it impossible for him to move around, let alone jump out of a window.
He said one of the lessons from this reopened inquest was the fact that the reopening came late in the day when most of the members of the Security Branch involved with the interrogation of Timol and the investigation of Timol's death had died.
Over the course of the inquest, forensic pathologists also testified that Timol's body was covered with external and internal injuries that were consistent with severe torture. Blood vessels to the kidney were severed, leaving the Kidney floating in the body.
The public gallery of courtroom 2-D is packed to capacity with members of the SA Communist Party‚ including second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila‚ struggle veterans General Siphiwe Nyanda‚ Essop Pahad‚ renowned anti-apartheid lawyer George Bizos‚ as well as members of Timol's immediate family and those who had been detained with him.
"Consequently‚ the key police witnesses who would have been called to testify again in regard to the events preceding the fall were not available".