The Wits Justice Project (WJP) spoke to two activists who were tortured during apartheid and to two people who were victims of torture after 1994. Their stories are chillingly similar and point to a continuing and systemic indifference to this very grave human rights violation

Judge Billy Mothle presiding over the reopening of the Ahmed Timol inquest last week ruled that the death of Timol in 1971 at John Vorster Square (now Johannesburg Central Police Station) was murder. Mothle said the cause of his death was severe brain damage, respiratory injuries, and blood loss.

Timol’s death was originally ruled a suicide by magistrate JJL de Villers at the first inquest, soon after Timol’s death. Timol’s mother, Hawa Timol, testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996. Describing what she had seen when she received her son’s body – open wounds and blood stains all over his body – she said Timol was actually tortured to death by the Security Branch.

This story was first published by the Wits Justice Project, a Wits Journalism project. Please click on the following link to read the full article: Timol inquest highlights striking similarities to present day South Africa