Kasrils: Timol treated harshly for his valuable information

Kasrils has been testifying at the inquest into Timol's 1971 death, which is being heard in the High Court in Pretoria.

FILE: Former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - Former Minister Ronnie Kasrils has testified that Ahmed Timol would have been treated particularly harshly by his interrogators because of the valuable information he had.

Kasrils has been testifying at the inquest into Timol's 1971 death, which is being heard in the High Court in Pretoria.

The former South African Communist Party (SACP) member and anti-apartheid activist died after falling from the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square Police Station.

The police claimed that he committed suicide, while evidence shows he sustained significant injuries prior to the fall.

Dr Salim Essop, who was arrested with Timol, was beaten so badly that he slipped into a coma.

Kasrils says that Timol would have had it worse.

“As severe as the treatment of Mr Essop was, with Mr Timol it would’ve been far greater because Mr Essop has not been out of the country. They knew that Timol had been out of the country and indeed they would’ve regarded him as a really important catch.”

SACP DETAINEES INSTRUCTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE?

Kasrils has corroborated evidence in the Timol inquest that there was never any policy or practice within the SACP or African National Congress (ANC) for detainees to commit suicide to avoid revealing sensitive information.

Among the security branch’s claims in the Timol matter, was that communist party detainees were under instruction to commit suicide to prevent interrogators from extracting information.

Kasrils was asked if there was any such instruction.

“Absolutely not. If that was the case then people like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Billy Nair those who could could reel off name after name, would’ve attempted something.”

One last witness is scheduled to testify on Friday before the inquest breaks for the legal teams to prepare their closing arguments.

WATCH: Day 14 of Ahmed Timol inquest

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)