South Africa: Four Decades On, Will There Be Justice for Neil Aggett When Inquest Reopens Monday?

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Almost 40 years after he died in custody, the inquest into anti-apartheid doctor and trade unionist Neil Aggett's death will be reopened on Monday 20 January. The Aggett family may finally receive some justice, but the policemen who were allegedly responsible have died while the state dragged its feet.

The inquest into Neil Aggett's 1982 death in detention will finally be reopened on Monday 20 January at the Johannesburg High Court as activists and family members look to overturn the finding that he committed suicide.

Aggett, a doctor and organiser for the Food and Canning Workers' Union, was found hanged with a scarf in his cell at Johannesburg's infamous John Vorster Square on 5 February 1982 after he was arrested the previous year by Security Branch officers and spent 70 days in detention.

Despite evidence that Aggett was brutally tortured and his family's belief that he was not suicidal, a 1982 inquest led by magistrate Pieter Kotze found he had committed suicide and no one was to blame for his death.

The reopened inquest is scheduled to last five weeks and will be presided over by Judge Motsamai Makume. In April 2019, former justice minister Michael Masutha authorised the reopening...

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