The Johannesburg High Court is expected to rule Friday in the reopened inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Dr. Neil Aggett.
The hearing is open to the public and the press, subject to the court’s Covid-19 protocols, while the foundation for Human Rights (FHR) will record the hearing and stream it live via its YouTube channel.
Aggett was a physician and union organizer who was found hanging in his cell in John Vorster Square on February 5, 1982, after 70 days in police custody. An initial inquest in 1982 ruled that his death was the result of suicide.
However, nearly three decades later, based on new evidence, a reopened inquest was ordered on August 16, 2019, which began January 20, 2020 in Johannesburg’s South Gauteng High Court.
Relatives, experts and political activists testified about their interactions with Aggett before his death, their experiences in detention without trial, and the interrogation techniques and torture used by the South African Police’s security department.
The court also carried out an inspection in locomotive of the 2nd and 10e floor of John Vorsterplein, where political activists were detained and interrogated, and where Aggett’s body was found in 1982.
In their heads of arguments, the family’s legal representatives, including attorney Howard Varney, attorney Thai Scott, and attorney Naseema Fakir, asked the court to overturn the 1982 first court decision finding that Aggett had committed suicide. .
They also recommended that other former members of the Security Service be charged with perjury for making false statements.
“The reopened inquest has been a very challenging and emotional rollercoaster for Aggett’s family, who have waited more than a decade for the inquest to be reopened, but the hearing was interrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic on a way that is not foreseen by anyone,” the foundation said in a statement†