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Judge recalls witnesses in Timol inquest owing to evidence contradictions

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Judge recalls witnesses in Timol inquest owing to evidence contradictions

4th August 2017

By: African News Agency

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New evidence led on Friday at the re-opened inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol contradicted the testimony given by the last man who saw the South African Communist Party member alive on the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square Police Station in 1971.

Judge Billy Mothle said owing to contradicting accounts, which even differed on the time Timol “fell” to his death, forensic pathologists Dr. Steve Naidoo and Dr. Shakeera Holland as well as retired police officer Jaoa Roderigues will have to be recalled to have their testimonies re-examined.

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Earlier in the week Rodrigues, the last person to see Timol alive, told the court that it was in the afternoon when the was left alone in the room with the anti-apartheid activist. The retired policeman, who could face charges of murder, said he saw Timol dive out of the window from the 10th floor.

On Thursday, Muhammad Ali Thokan, a man who was filling petrol across the road from John Vorster Square on the morning of 27 October 1971 said he didn’t see the fall but heard a thud.

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Thokan said he was certain the incident occurred in the morning. He explained that he remembers the day as if it was yesterday because he was on his way to Pretoria to get his trading license.

“I didn’t see the fall, but I heard a thud, I looked around and I did not see anything and then I just carried on,” recalled Thokan of the incident that happened 46 years ago.

He said later a pedestrian exclaimed that a body had fallen from a building, when he went to investigate he was told to “F-off” by a group of plain clothed police officers.

The judge inquired if Thokan was sure about the time of day. Thokan stuck to his story and said he wouldn’t have driven to Pretoria in the afternoon as government offices would have been closed, and the trading license was important.

On Friday, Mothle subpoenaed Ahmed Adam who worked at Dollars filling station as a book clerk to come and enlighten the court on the dispute on the time of day.

Ahmed Adam has previously been subpoenaed, but he has refused to cooperate.The judge said if Adam was not willing to come to court, he will be prosecuted.

A 1972 inquest found that Timol had committed suicide at the infamous John Vorster Square police station, now known as the Johannesburg Central police station.

However, the activist’s family and associates have contested the suicide findings since then. They believe Timol was murdered by agents of the apartheid government.

The inquest was postponed to August 10.

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