Finding the truth about how anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol died

The second sitting into an inquest of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol is currently underway in the Pretoria High Court to reveal the real cause of his death 46 years ago.

The apartheid government claimed that Timol committed suicide. But his family has established that he was tortured and either thrown or pushed from the 10th floor of what was then called John Vorster Square Police Station.

Essop Pahad took the stand and told the court the kind of relationship he had with Ahmed Timol - how they shared a flat in London before Timol returned to South Africa.

EWN reporter, Barry Bateman says a trauma expert was also put on the stand, talking about the do's and don'ts when dealing with a critically injured body.

It sounded like a first aid lesson, that if you are dealing with somebody who is critically injured the first thing you do is don't move the body.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

He explained that the risk of moving someone who has perhaps fallen from the ten story building causes further trauma to their body and causes further injuries which could be a contributing factor.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

According to Bateman, the court also read an affidavit from a police officer who said he attended to Timol after his fall. The affidavit describes how Timol's body was covered in blankets and moved back into the building up to the 9th floor. When they arrived at the 9th floor he was declared dead.

The trauma expert was questioned about whether the conduct of the police officers was correct. He said that the same principle of not moving a critically injured body until the ambulance arrives was a known factor even in 1971.

The police were taught, even at that particular time, that when you dealing with a critically injured body, do not move it.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

Timol's family was arguing that what the police demonstrated, shows that they were not concerned with preserving life and secondly, it shows that there was an attempt to cover it up.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Finding the truth about how anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol died


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