The family of anti-apartheid activist Imam Abdullah Haron is calling on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to re-open the investigation into his death.
Haron died 50 years ago while in police custody at Caledon Square Police Station in Cape Town.
The Haron family held a press conference on Friday morning at the Home Coming Centre – District 6 Museum in Zonnebloem.
At the gathering, the family released an important statement relating to Haron’s death while detained by police in solitary imprisonment for 123 days during which he was tortured.
Fatima Haron-Masoet, the youngest daughter of the struggle stalwart said: “We (family) have decided that we want to have an inquest re-opened to determine that our father’s death was not the result of an accidental fall on a bar of soap while coming down the stairs,” she explains.
Trying to keep her tears from rolling, the emotional woman said after months of torture, her father’s body came home with extensive bruises and scars.
At the time of Haron’s death, on Wednesday 27th September 1969, the police confirmed that his passing was accidental.
However, autopsy evidence released thereafter proved that the activist had been tortured and died as a result of his injuries.
“As a family, we are deeply bereaved. Our family has been denied justice for the past 50 years. As our father suffered extensive trauma, each one of us has also suffered trauma in our own way, as a result of his death.”
Marking the 50th anniversary of Haron’s death, the family also announced a #123 campaign to mark the 123 days he spent in police custody without seeing his family.
A number of events will kick off in Cape Town from Tuesday 28 May to Sunday 29 September to commemorate the legacy and memory of Haron and of all those who fought in the noble struggle.
Family members of other activists who were killed in detention in the same year of Haron’s death were also present to give input at the conference.
The relatives who attended represented struggle heroes Nicodemus Kgoathe, Solomon Modipane, James Lenkoe, Caleb Mayekiso, Michael Shivute, and Jacob Monakgotla.
The Haron family said information that has come to light around the death of Ahmed Timol, another anti-apartheid activist killed at the hands of police, requires a re-look at the events of Haron’s death.
Timol dead while in police custody in October 1971. At the time of his death, the police said that he (Timol) committed suicide, when in fact a police officer pushed him out a 10 story building.
This evidence was found after an inquest was reopened by the Timol family in recent years.
The North Gauteng High Court, during the reopening of the inquest last year, concluded that activist Timol was in fact murdered while in detention.
The accused, Joao Rodrigues, at the age 80, was charged with Timol’s murder and is due to appear in court for a continuation of his criminal trial in April.
“We call on the families of those who were killed in detention, those who suffered in detention, and those who are still alive, to join us on a 123-day programme.
“As citizens, we need to see the emergence of a fair and just society and deal with those old-order and new-order individuals who have taken us on the wrong path.
“Today, we are deeply disturbed about what is happening in our country. The blatant disregard of people and the corruption that is happening does not represent the values our father stood for and so many others in this country.
“We hope as a family, community, and citizens of this country, to continue the justice for the campaign, in all sectors and in all levels in years to follow.” Aishah Cassiem (Deen Times)