Officer in Ahmed Timol case to appear in court on a charge of murder

The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that an officer identified in the Ahmed Timol case, 79-year-old Joao Rodrigues, will be appearing in court on a charge of murder. 

"He is appearing at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, and [is] charged with murder and defeating the ends of justice," NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told News24. 

A statement from the Foundation for Human Rights and the Justice and Accountability Network also confirmed the former security branch police sergeant's court appearance.

READ: If police sergeant is guilty, he 'must face full might of the law' - Timol's nephew

Almost 46 years since his death, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last year found that Timol, just as his family had always maintained, died at the hands of apartheid security branch police while in detention.

Judge Billy Mothle found that Timol did not meet his death because he committed suicide but that he "died as a result of having being pushed to fall, an act which was committed by members of the security branch with dolus eventualis as a form of intent, and prima facie amounting to murder".

Mothle said three witnesses contradicted Rodrigues' version of events around Timol's death.

READ: Former security police officer crumbles under cross examination at Timol inquest

He said members of the security branch who were interrogating Timol on that day were collectively responsible for his death.

"Rodrigues placed himself on the scene as a party to the cover-up to conceal the truth," and thus became an accessory to murder, he said at the time. 

"Rodrigues should be investigated for making contradictory statements while under oath. He has a previous conviction on perjury." 

*This story has been amended to reflect the correct age of Rodrigues 

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