54 Years On, Family of Imam Abdullah Haron Finally Learns Truth Behind Activist’s Death at the Hands of Apartheid Police in South Africa

Fifty-four years after his death in detention, a judge has confirmed what the family of Imam Abdullah Haron always knew — Haron was tortured and murdered by members of the apartheid Security Branch.

The Muslim cleric and anti-apartheid activist Imam Abdullah Haron died a brutal death at the hands of the Security Branch during his incarceration in September 1969.

He was repeatedly punched and kicked with booted feet on his chest. He was prodded or pressed with either knuckles, the point of a truncheon or a similar object while standing against and facing a wall or lying on his stomach, and was repeatedly hit with a truncheon or similar object on his thighs from the front, back and sides.

These were some of the findings made by Judge Daniel Thulare on Monday, 9 October, in the Western Cape Division of the High Court at the reopened inquest into Haron’s death.

Judge Thulare set aside the March 1970 inquest’s findings, in which magistrate JSP Kuhn stated that Haron’s death was caused by an accidental fall down a flight of stone stairs and an associated heart attack.

Judge Thulare said, “The cause of Imam Abdullah [Haron’s death] is attributable to the accumulative effect of injuries under torture … with the possibility of a pre-existing coronary [condition] as a contributing factor.

“The Security Branch of the South African Police are held responsible for the acts…

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