Derby-Lewis ruling ‘a victory for all terminally ill prisoners’

Chris Hani’s convicted killer was granted medical parole by the High Court in PTA yesterday.

FILE. Clive Derby-Lewis testifies during an amnesty hearing in August 1997 for his part in the April 1993 murder of Chris Hani. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Clive Derby-Lewis's legal team says the judicial decision granting him medical parole is a victory not only for their client but for other terminally ill prisoners.

Derby-Lewis suffers from terminal cancer, which two independent doctors say is spreading rapidly.

The 79-year old was sentenced to life in prison for providing the firearm used to kill South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani in 1993.

Derby-Lewis's lawyer says over 1,000 prisoners die in prison every year as a result of illness.

"From that point of view it vindicates the rights of terminally ill prisoners to qualify for release on medical parole."

In his ruling, Judge Selby Baqwa said it would be unjustifiable prejudice if he referred the matter back to Justice Minister Michael Masutha, as it's not clear how long Derby-Lewis has to live.

The minister is now studying the judgment and will make a decision within the allowed two weeks on whether to appeal or not.