PRETORIA September 25 1998 - SAPA

RUTH FIRST BOMB MAKER TELLS TRC HE WAS FOLLOWING ORDERS

Explosives experts Jerry Raven told the Truth and Reconcilation Commission in Pretoria on Thursday he was simply following orders when he made the letter bombs that killed African National Congress activists.

Raven is applying for amnesty for his part in the letter bomb attacks on Joe Slovo's wife Ruth First in Mozambique in 1982, and ANC activist Marius Schoon's wife Jeanette and their six-year-old daughter Katryn in Angola in 1984.

He has admitted assembling the devices on instructions from his commander, apartheid spy Craig Williamson.

"The powers that be made the decisions on the targets, I made the bombs," Raven said.

He earlier told the amnesty committee he did not know who would be the recipients of the letters into which he inserted the bombs.

Asked by Danny Berger, who is appearing for the Schoon family, whether he would have agreed to build the bomb if he had known the recipient, he replied that he would have.

He was asked if he would have inserted the bomb if the letter had been addressed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Progressive Federal Party MP Helen Suzman, or Black Sash campaigner Helen Joseph.

"If the powers that be deemed them to be legitimate targets I would have followed orders," he said.

The hearing continues on Monday.


South African Press Association, 1998
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