Apartheid cop accused of Ahmed Timol's murder granted R2 000 bail

Apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues has been charged with the murder of activist Ahmed Timol.
Apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues has been charged with the murder of activist Ahmed Timol.

The former state security officer accused of murdering anti-Apartheid activist Ahmed Timol has been granted bail of R2 000.

Joao “Jan” Rodriguez appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court today on charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice in connection with Timol’s death nearly 47 years ago. The frail 80-year-old walked up from the holding cells into the dock using a crutch after he apparently underwent a foot operation two months ago.

The state did not oppose bail and the matter was postponed until September 18 and transferred to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for pre-trial purposes.

Rodrigues gave evidence in last year’s reopened inquest into Timol’s death in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria which replaced the 1972 court’s suicide finding with one of murder.

He was a member of the security branch who pushed paperwork and administration and is the last known person to have seen Timol alive before the then 29-year-old activist allegedly fell to his death from a 10th floor window at John Vorster Square (now known as Johannesburg Central police station) in 1971.

Rodrigues told the inquest that he had “never touched” Timol and that he had declined to write the statement his seniors had allegedly wanted. What he presented to the court was a repetition of the statement he had made at the first inquest into Timol’s death in 1972.

In his statement at that inquest‚ the former police officer said Timol had jumped to his death after he had asked him (Rodrigues) to accompany him to the bathroom. At the time Rodrigues entered the office where Timol was held‚ two policemen - Captain JZ van Niekerk and Captain JH Gloy - were inside with him. They had interrogated Timol.


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