KAGISO November 13 1996 Sapa

WOMAN TELLS TRC SHE WAS JAILED FOR LENDING A FRIEND HER CAR

A Roodepoort woman on Wednesday told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission she was jailed for five years in the 1970s under the Terrorism Act for lending her car to a friend.

Amina Desai, now 75, told the commission's human rights violations committee in Kagiso on the West Rand she loaned the car to Ahmed Timol, a political activist.

(Timol was tortured by the Security Police and fell, or was thrown, to his death from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square police headquarters in Johannesburg.)

Desai said she was not politically active at the time and could not understand why she was arrested. She was held in solitary confinement for five months and was subjected to psychological torture.

Another Roodepoort resident, Dr Kantilal Naik, said he was detained, also for five months, and tortured at John Vorster Square in 1971 for being a friend of Timol's. Naik and Timol were teachers at Roodepoort Indian High School.

Naik said: "On my release police spread rumours that I was their agent. Some of my colleagues were employed to spread the rumour that I was a state agent."

"I suffered mental and physical pain as a result of my incarceration. I still cannot understand why I was tortured and detained."

Asked what he wanted the TRC to do, Naik replied: "The policemen, including Johan Coetzee, who tortured and harassed us, should be called before the commission. Let them explain why they did that to us. The TRC should ensure that the unnecessary detention of innocent people does not happen again."


South African Press Association, 1996
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