Cape Town – The findings in the Ahmed Timol inquest, where the presiding officer found that the anti-apartheid activist was murdered and did not commit suicide, has given impetus to calls to reopen the case into the death of Ashley Kriel.
The Bonteheuwel MK soldier was killed in 1987 while being arrested.
The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) said it supported the call to reopen the hearings into Kriel’s death.
Kriel was killed on July 9, 1987, in a house in Hazendal, Athlone. Security police officers told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that Kriel was shot while resisting arrest.
“The IJR implores the Hawks to thoroughly investigate the case and to leave no stone unturned. This case together with the Ahmed Timol case of last year could become a foundation to explore other questionable cases. The IJR believes that mysterious apartheid death cases should be investigated.”
The TRC probed Kriel’s death and information brought to the commission by then police captain Jeffrey Benzien that Kriel had a .22 pistol and that there was a scuffle between Kriel and the police, which led to a deadly shot being fired, hitting Kriel in his back. Benzien was granted amnesty after providing his testimony.
“There have been subsequent developments on the incident suggesting that the case brought to the TRC was fabricated.
“It is suggested that some details on crimes and oppressions of the apartheid regime remain swept under the rug as the case of Ahmed Timol showed in 2017,” the commission said.
Forensic scientist David Klatzow has been investigating Kriel’s case for 29 years and suggests that he was shot from afar, while his hands were handcuffed. The apartheid security forces had always “planted evidence” to criminalise and murder anti-apartheid activists, added Klatzow.
Kriel’s sister, Michelle Assure, said the family was visited by the Hawks in 2016 and told about plans to reopen the case, but she said they have not heard from them since.
“I have tried to make contact with the Hawks and the NPA. I have even left messages but no one has come back to me. The perpetrator was not repentant and he showed no remorse. He had the chance to be truthful at the TRC proceedings. Now justice must take its course.”