Torture and complicity the norm under Security Branch


Picture: Radio 786

Apartheid-era police officer, Johannes Hendrik Burger has struggled to prove that he was unable to assist Imam Abdullah Haron while he was at Maitland police station.

Burger was a deployed to the station in the 1960s, which coincides with the Imam’s detention there.

The court has tried to get clarity on Burger’s actions when he noted that the Imam was behaving differently during the last few days of September 1969.

Judge Daniel Thulare asked Burger what he had inferred from seeing the Imam struggling to walk.

But Burger insisted that the Imam did not want to see a doctor.

The court has however noted that this would be a strange response from someone who had sustained extensive injuries during the “interrogations”.

Burger was one of the last people to see the Imam alive.

Later, Diane Sandler, psycho-analyst and co-author of the book, Detention and Torture in South Africa, told the court that the Security Branch had employed systematic methods of torture.

Amongst the tactics includes forcing their victims to walk barefoot on glass, or going for long periods without food.

The psychological torture employed by the Security Branch included verbal abuse, threatening the safety of family members, and forcing their victims to undress in front of them.


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