Inquest to be conducted into Ahmed Timol’s death
TMG Digital | 2017-05-30 13:58:12.0
Ahmed Timol died in detention in 1971, with the inquest concluding that he committed suicide. File photo
Image by: Sunday Times Extra
Judge Billy Mothle has been appointed to oversee the reopening of the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol.
This was revealed by the Ahmed Timol Family Trust and the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) on Tuesday.
“Our immediate priority is to have the apartheid era inquest finding of nobody to blame reversed‚” said Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee‚ nephew of Ahmed Timol.
“There are three dates for the hearing. The inquest commences on the 26th June 2017 until 30 June 2017 in the South Gauteng High Court‚ Johannesburg. The case resumes on the 24th of July until the 4th of August with the final dates on the 10th and 11th of August.”
According to the trust‚ various high profile people are expected to attend the re-opening of the inquest and media organisations have applied for permission to film proceedings.
Ahmed Timol was a young schoolteacher in Roodepoort who opposed apartheid. He was arrested at a police roadblock on October 22 1971‚ and died five days later.
Timol was the 22nd person to die in police custody during apartheid and many more were to follow.
A private investigation on behalf of the Timol family presented evidence to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in January 2016.
Based on the evidence‚ the family argues that Magistrate De Villiers who handled his case during the apartheid era erred in his findings. The “compelling” evidence has been provided to the NPA necessitating the reopening of the inquest in the interest of justice.
Magistrate De Villiers concluded during the original Timol inquest in 1972 that he was not tortured during his detention‚ the security branch officers were credible witnesses and that the detainee had committed suicide. He found nobody responsible for his death.
“Members of the family‚ close friends and comrades of Timol‚ the 29 year old Roodepoort school teacher‚ never believed that he had committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square Police Station (renamed Johannesburg Central Police Station) during his interrogation by security police.
They believed that Timol was either tortured to death and thrown from the building or pushed to his death. They remained convinced that the inquest was a cover-up‚” the family trust said.
Timol was posthumously awarded the National Order of Luthuli‚ in 2009.