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Timol family want Jan Rodrigues charged with murder

This after police clerk's eyewitness account contradicts version of Ahmed Timol's last moments that family has presented to inquest

#TimolInquest: 'Former security branch police officer should be charged with murder'

Johannesburg – The lawyer representing the family of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, has said he will be asking the North Gauteng High Court to recommend that criminal charges be brought against former security branch police sergeant, Joao Jan Rodrigues.

“We will first put to this court that you collaborated with the security branch to cover up various crimes.

“Firstly, the torture and the repeated grievous assault with intent to do harm to Mr Timol as well as his murder. Should it be demonstrated that you colluded with the security branch to set up the fall of Mr Timol, you should be held responsible with the crime of murder.

“We will be submitting to this honourable court [that it] recommend to the National Prosecuting Authority that you be charged with perjury, accessory after the fact to the murder of Timol, alternatively to the murder of Ahmed Timol,” said advocate Howard Varney, who is representing the Timol family.

When asked if he understood, Rodrigues said, “I do not agree with the council’s submission, I am not guilty”.

Day 13 of the Ahmed Timol inquest in Pretoria proved difficult for Rodrigues, 78.

The former security branch sergeant was grilled and holes were poked in his testimony in which he said he was the last person to see Timol alive.

On Monday Rodrigues told the court that on October 27, 1971, (the day of Timol’s death) he had been summoned to John Vorster Square by officers, Captain Gloy and Van Niekerk.

When he arrived at their offices he found them sitting with another man (Timol), all three enjoying cups of coffee.

Shortly after he arrived to drop off the officers’ salaries and a sealed envelope, an unknown man (Mr X) walked in announcing the arrest of three other people linked to Timol.

Then the two officers left the room asking Rodrigues to keep a close eye on Timol.

‘Now what should I do?’

A few moments later Rodrigues said Timol requested to go to the toilet and in the process of taking him there, Timol then quickly rushed to the window of the building, now known as Johannesburg Central Police Station, and jumped.

Timol’s death in 1971 was ruled a suicide but his family have always believed that he was murdered.

The 1972 an inquest was reopened after the family said they had new evidence.

On Wednesday, Rodrigues struggled to explain the rationale behind a lot of the decisions he made on the day of Timol’s death.

Both the NPA’s Torie Pretorius and Varney stopped short of calling Rodrigues a liar after he presented various versions of what happened and gave new evidence that was not contained in his original statement in 1972.

Judge Mothle grilled Rodrigues asking him why he should believe his version when he had evidence before him made by two pathologists.

“Advocate Pretorius and Varney have presented evidence and the evidence presented by other witnesses which raise serious questions about your version…

“The medical reports are based on the report of the autopsy…All the people conceded that there were injuries that were there which were not consistent with the fall. The debate was how old were the wounds.”

Judge Billy Mothle said, “Now what should I do? Accept your version and reject the report of the autopsy that there was an injury on the eye because I cannot accept both?”

Rodrigues said as far as he could remember, he did not see any injuries on Timol’s body.

In the hands of the court

He said if he accepted the autopsy report that there were injuries, then it meant that Rodrigues’ evidence was false.

Mothle said, “The reason why I think the police sat in the testimony was to see if you would reveal what they wanted you to reveal, they wanted to see if you would play along with the story they gave you which you had to tell the magistrate, is that correct to confer that they wanted to play along to the suicide story?”

Rodrigues said, “I don’t think the submission from the court is truth…I refused to be influenced by them, I stuck to my guns”.

Mothle said after Rodrigues had testified, he was given a letter of commendation and protection.

“There is evidence before me that suggests that the information you gave at the inquest in 1972, which you repeated here, does not accord with the evidence I have received...”

Rodrigues said, “I cannot tell the court which evidence must be taken into consideration to arrive at the probable judgment, that is in the hands of the court.

“There is no other way that I can tell the truth, but the truth is what is written in my statement and I stand by it. I cannot change the truth. If I change my statement then it means I lied to the court.

“It is the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth.”

News24

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

Johannesburg – The nephew of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, said if the North Gauteng High Court found that former security branch police sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues fabricated evidence, then he should face the full might of the law.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Ahmed Timol inquest on Wednesday, Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee said the family has always been optimistic that the truth would prevail and that the perpetrators would come clean.

“Our council advocate Howard Varney reminded sergeant Rodrigues that it is in his interest to tell the truth because the family wants answers and was looking for closure.

“This is the perfect platform, 46 years after the death of my uncle, for [Rodrigues] to come clean and make a full revelation.”

Cajee said all the evidence that had been presented before Judge Billy Mothle made it obvious to believe that Rodrigues was the “fall guy”.

“He was the last person in the room with uncle Ahmed and he had clearly demonstrated that he was influenced to change his statement. He claims that there were death threats and there is a commendation letter as well, his story just does not make sense.”

Cajee said the family would not show sympathy if it is found that Rodrigues lied to the court because he had been given ample time to come clean from day one of the court proceedings.

“Judge Mothle reminded him before he testified on Monday (that at the end of the proceedings he will have to make a decision and that if found that he played a role in Timol’s death, he was at risk of being prosecuted).

“Advocate Varney reminded him again on Tuesday (that this was a truth seeking activity and that the Timol family was not seeking vengeance).

“On Wednesday, during cross examination, Judge Mothle reminded him for the third time again that it was in his interest to tell the truth. But it is very evident from his posture and evidence that he remains arrogant and sticks to his particular version.

“We have no doubt that he must face the full might of the law,” said Cajee.

On Wednesday, Varney said he would be asking the North Gauteng High Court to recommend that criminal charges be brought against Rodrigues.

Varney said, “We will first put to this court that you collaborated with the security branch to cover up various crimes.

“Firstly, the torture and the repeated grievous assault with intent to do harm to Mr Timol as well as his murder. Should it be demonstrated that you colluded with the security branch to set up the fall of Mr Timol, you should be held responsible with the crime of murder.

“We will be submitting to this honourable court that it recommend to the National Prosecuting Authority that you be charged with perjury, accessory after the fact to the murder of Timol, alternatively to the murder of Ahmed Timol,” said Varney.

When asked if he understood, Rodrigues said, “I do not agree with the council’s submission, I am not guilty”.

Both Varney and NPA’s Torie Pretorius stopped short of calling Rodrigues a liar, saying he had fabricated a false version of what had happened.

Mothle was also critical of Rodrigues’ testimony saying there were inconsistencies in what he told the inquest in 1972 and what he had told the court now.

“There is evidence before me that suggests that the information you gave at the inquest in 1972, which you repeated here, does not accord with the evidence I have received...” said Mothle.

The hearings continue on Thursday and former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is expected to testify.

News24