EAST LONDON Nov 28 - SAPA

TREVOR TUTU FREED FROM PRISON AFTER BEING GRANTED AMNESTY

Trevor Tutu, son of Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was on Friday afternoon released from the Goodwood prison in Cape Town, prison officials confirmed.

Trevor Tutu was earlier on Friday granted amnesty for causing a bomb scare at East London Airport in 1989.

The amnesty announcement came only two months after Trevor Tutu began serving a three-and-a-half year jail sentence after an East London court refused to grant him bail.

Trevor Tutu's East London lawyer, Andri Schoombee, said his client was one of 43 people granted amnesty on Friday.

He said the route to apply for amnesty followed the court's refusal to grant his client bail.

"Upon the failure of the bail application I was immediately instructed to make an appeal against the decision on the refusal of bail and the main charge, and I was instructed to investigate the new avenues opened since his 1991 conviction, one of those avenues being amnesty."

"After discussions with Trevor Tutu, other attorneys and interested parties, it was decided to go the whole hog on the amnesty application. The appeal was not prosecuted. We stopped going with the appeal," he said

Trevor Tutu was originally sentenced in 1991 to jail for contravening the Civil Aviation Act by falsely claiming there was a bomb on board an SA Airways 'plane at East London Airport.

The bomb threat delayed the Johannesburg bound flight for more than three hours, costing SAA some R28000.

At the time Trevor Tutu announced his intention to appeal against his sentence, but failed to arrive for the appeal hearings. He forfeited his bail of R15000.

He was due to begin serving his sentence in 1993, but failed to hand himself over to prison authorities. He was finally arrested in Johannesburg in August.

Schoombee said the amnesty application was made on September 26 - only a few days before the September 30 cut-off date.

On November 18 the TRC's amnesty committee sent Schoombee four specific questions relating to the amnesty application, which was then forwarded to Trevor Tutu at Goodwood prison.

Citing attorney-client privilege, Schoombee declined to divulge the nature of the questions put to Trevor Tutu.

He said Trevor Tutu's application was heard in an internal chamber session as his transgression was not deemed severe enough to warrant a public hearing.


South African Press Association, 1997
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