Judgment expected in anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett inquest

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The High Court in Johannesburg is on Friday expected to deliver judgment in the reopened inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett.

The medical doctor and trade unionist died in police custody on 5 February 1982 after 70 days in detention.

Aggett was found hanging in his cell at the Johannesburg Central Police Station, formerly known as the infamous John Vorster Square.

An initial inquest, in 1982, had ruled that he had committed suicide. However, Aggett’s family say he was murdered by the security police.

The family has requested the court to reverse the 1982 decision and it has also recommended that other former members of security branch be charged with perjury for making false statements.

Judgment expected in anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett’s death inquest:

A former security branch police officer, Martin Naudé, has previously conceded that it’s possible that Aggett was assaulted a month before he died.

An initial inquest ruled the death a suicide, but an inquest was reopened in 2020.

The court commenced the proceedings with new evidence from family members, experts and political activists.

Former Security Branch police officers were also questioned about the hours leading to Aggett’s body being found hanging in his cell.

The re-opened inquest into the death of Dr Aggett resumed last year for closing arguments at the High Court in Johannesburg.