31 January 2019

Mozambique: Foul Play Feared in South African's Death in Mozambique

Maputo — FOUL play is suspected in the death, in custody, of a South African businessman held on terrorism charges in Mozambique.

Businessman Andre Hanekom recently died at a local hospital days after he was transferred from the hospital prison with violent seizures.

He was detained for alleged involvement in armed attacks in the northern Cabo Delgado province.

A copy of Hanekom's death certificate states the cause of his death as Encephalopathy Hypoxemia, or brain injury.

Hanekom's wife, Francis, alleges hospital staff told her that her husband had died after organ failure but raised concern staff performed an autopsy without the presence of a family member or representative.

The Attorney General's reportedly received the results of the autopsy but would not share them with the family.

Hanekom's wife believes her husband was poisoned to cover up abuses in detention that could have been revealed during his trial.

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said Hanekom's death raised questions that needed investigations by the authorities.

"The authorities should establish the cause of Hanekom's death and provide the details and autopsy report to his family," Mavhinga said.

Hanekom was kept in detention without charges or access to a lawyer since August despite a court ordering his release on bail.

In December, prosecutors announced that he and two Tanzanians were among leaders of an armed Islamist group.

They were charged with murder, crimes against the state and inciting civil disobedience.

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