The Historical Papers Research Archive


TIMOL, Ahmed Inquest, records, 1971-1972

Collection Index: TIMOL, Ahmed Inquest, records, 1971-1972
Collection Name: TIMOL, Ahmed Inquest, records, 1971-1972
AK3388 Ahmed Timol Inquest, records, 1971-1972
Copyright 2015, Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Digital collection

The Inquest records in this collection were donated by Advocate M.A. Loonat to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, who
subsequently made the collection available to Historical Papers for digitisation. The original records are held at the Ahmed
Kathrada Foundation, Johannesburg.
Please note: A substantial part of the hearings, being pages 1-652, are missing.

Ahmed Timol, a teacher from Roodepoort, was a student activist and later became a member of the South African Communist
Party. He went to London in 1967, where he took up a teaching post, supporting his family in South Africa. He also met with
former comrades and friends from the Communist Party and the ANC who selected Ahmed Timol to attend the International
Lenin School in Moscow from February to October 1969. Back in London, and before leaving to go back to South Africa, he
received training in underground political work. He returned to South Africa in February 1970, resuming his teaching post in

Ahmed Timol was arrested at a roadblock in October 1971, together with Salim Essop, and subsequently taken to the John
Vorster Square police station. He was severly tortured by the security police and died in police custody on the 27 October
1971, by falling from the 10th floor to his death.

An Inquest was opened on 1 December 1971 at the Johannesburg Magistrate by J.J.L. de Villiers, with D.W. Rothwell and
A.L.T. Beukes as Public Prosecutors, and Advocate I.A. Maisels QC and Advocate G. Bizos, and instructing attorneys M.S.H.
Cachalia and M.A. Loonat presenting the Timol family. The hearing had to be adjourned due to Advocate Maisels request to
access documents in the case. After lengthy interventions hearings were resumed in April 1972. The post mortem was carried
out by the pathologist Dr Nicolaas Schepers, assisted by Dr J. Gluckman at the request of the Timol family.
The Magistrate announced his findings on the 22 June 1972, saying that Ahmed Timol had committed suicide whilst in police
custody, and that nobody was to be blamed for his death.
Reference is made to our collections A2505 Dr Jonathan Gluckman; A2892 Ahmed Timol photographs; and A3205 Ahmed