Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues is set to make another appearance at the Johannesburg High Court sitting at the Palmridge Magistrate’s Court in Germiston on Thursday.
He is facing charges relating to the death of anti apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol. Rodrigues was charged with premeditated murder in 2018 after the reopening of an inquest into Timol’s death on October 27, 1971.
Police said Timol had died of injuries suffered when he threw himself out the window from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square police station where he was interrogated and allegedly tortured.
However, Timol’s family dispute that he would have committed suicide. This week marks the 49th anniversary of Timol’s death.
Rodrigues approaches SCA against prosecution in Ahmed Timol murder
Rodrigues believes he will not receive a fair trial should he be prosecuted for the premeditated murder of Timol.
Rodrigues had approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to challenge the High Court order which dismissed his application not to be prosecuted for the death of Timol in October 1971.
He has also accused the Ministers of Justice and Police of deliberately withholding important facts relating to the lengthy delay and serious political interference in such prosecutions.
Rodrigues insists that he was neither involved in the arrest nor in the subsequent investigation of the case against Timol.
In papers before the SCA, Rodrigues argues that the Ministers of Justice and Police were probably aware that he was also granted the presidential amnesty.
He says that Justice Minister Ronald Lamola was bound by that decision not to prosecute him and other perpetrators.
Rodrigues adds that circumstances relating to Timol’s death were officially investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996.
Rodrigues, who is 81, says he suffers from a serious fading memory, and that he would be prejudiced should he be prosecuted for an incident that happened 49 years ago.
The first inquest in 1972 found that Ahmed Timol committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the then notorious John Vorster Square following his arrest at a roadblock.