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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Shrien Dewani, accused of ordering wife Anni’s contract murder in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, ‘could escape extradiction because of the clearly prejudiced police-chief Cele; the questionable bona-fides of Judge Hlophe; and SA’s violent prisons which would violate the UK citizen’s human rights:’ expert opinion by Adv Paul Hoffman SC of the Centre for Constitutional Rights..
2011-01-04 Journalist Carryn-Ann Nel of Burger Afrikaans daily in Cape Town reports that various strong factors ‘could be used as credible arguments against the extradiction of UK citizen Mr Shrien Dewani to South Africa to stand trial for the alleged ‘contract killing’of his wife Anni. Nel quoted Adv Paul Hoffman SC, one of the country’s acknowledged top legal brains, a member of the Cape Bar and former acting judge at the West Cape High Court , as citing some of the factors which Dewani’s legal team could credibly use to stop the young UK citizen from being taken to SA for what promises to be a very high-profile, propagandist trial:
Amongst these factors are:
- ‘The dysfunctional South African judicial system, recently even publicly criticised by former Justice Minister Johnny de Lange himself; the dangerously violent, overcrowded prisons of the Western cape; SAPS chief Bheki Cele’s own prejudicial remark when he referred to Mr Dewani as a ‘monkey’; and the high level of controversy surrounding the Western Cape High Court’s Judge-President John Hlophe.
Judge John Hlophe infamously said: “I wil not shake a white man’s hand” –
also: his entire courtroom sagas are on Legal Brief:
‘Dewani will never get a fair trial in South Africa…’
Dewani’s hearing in the UK – examining South Africa’s request for his extradiction - starts on 20 January. Two lawyers in the UK, Ms Akta Raja who is a cousin of Dewani, and a friend Mr Andrew Jackson, both wrote in an open letter to The Telegraph this week that Dewani would ‘never get a fair trial in SA.
Raja and Jackson questioned the leniency shown in Judge John Hlophe’s fast-track trial of taxi-driver Zola Tongo, who had fingered Dewani as the ‘master-brain’ behind the assassination-style murder of Anni Dewani in his dramatic testimony. Tonga was given a very lenient prison sentence of 18 years for his active role in Anni Dewani’s murder: he admitted that he willingly participated in the kidnapping and armed robbery of the honeymoon-couple; and also participated in the execution-style murder of Anni Dewani in a taxi in Khayelitsha township.
The two UK lawyers quote South African Sunday Times journalist Anton Ferreira as writing:
- “Be afraid, Shrien Dewani, be very afraid. If you are extradited to South Africa, the police will treat you like an animal, cook up false evidence against you, and then throw you into an overcrowded jail ruled by gangs where you will rot for the rest of your life.”
They continue: ‘This terrifying picture is lent weight by William Booth, chairman of the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of South Africa, who notes: “It’s been established in South Africa that there’s been manipulation of evidence that goes to the heart not only of the police investigation, but of the prosecution… The overcrowding in prisons, the gangster activity in prisons, [Shrien’s] right to have medical treatment – there’s very little medical treatment within prisons, we know that.”
The two UK lawyers ask: “Do you think you (Shrien) – an innocent man who needs psychiatric treatment for bereavement, not incarceration – would survive unharmed, or survive at all, in Pollsmoor, Cape Town’s notorious prison for defendants awaiting trial? Which of the various gangs called “The Numbers” do you want to join? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/8235196/Presumed-guilty-a-personal-plea-for-my-cousin-Shrien-Dewani.html
Hoffman (right) – one of South Africa’s acknowledged top legal brains and a leading member of the Cape Bar -- said when asked to comment about the comments in this letter to The Telegraph, that the Dewani legal team could indeed use all these factors - including the fact that former Justice Minister Advocate Johnny de Lange had also raised the issue of the many problems now plaguing the judicial system.
Hoffman also confirmed that Judge John Hlophe was “a controversial figure. Yet it would be Hlophe who would have to decide as the judge-president of the Western Cape High Court which judge would handle the Dewani case. Yet as we all know, there is a very large question mark hanging over Hlophe’s integrity,” he pointed out.
sources and links:
- Adv Johnny de Lange: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?oid=116717&sn=Detail&pid=71619
- Judge Hlophe: “I will not shake a white man’s hand:” http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2009/08/racism-complaint-against-top-black-sa.html
- Judge Hlophe’s saga on Legal Brief: http://www.legalbrief.co.za/index.php?page=HlopheSaga
- Adv. Paul Hoffman SC: http://www.fwdklerk.org.za/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?cmd=cause_dir_leader&leader_id=5495&cause_id=2137
- Open letter pleading for Shrien Dewani, The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/8235196/Presumed-guilty-a-personal-plea-for-my-cousin-Shrien-Dewani.html
Some recent examples of manipulation of forensic evidence by Western Cape police:
- Marieke de Klerk, former SA first lady: false testimony by convicted murderer Luayanda Mboniswa that her adopted son ‘had ordered the killing’. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1695061.stm
- Ilze Lotz, Stellenbosch University student murder: accused boyfriend Fred van der Vyver found innocent of her murder’: testimony: his fingerprints were lifted off a glass in his flat by SAPS investigators and planted on a DVD-holder at the Lotz crime-scene: testimony by top Dutch finger-print expert: http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/11/dutch-print-expert-testifies-in-lotz.html
“Thanks for the prayers’ said the gunman: then Ricardo Reiners, 9, and grandmom Jeanette Wessels were shot…
Jan 3 2011 – Rev Dean Reiners, wife Tryna, their three sons and their gran Jeanette Wessels were targetted by two gunmen in the Helm Street driveway of their Birchleigh, Kempton Park home on Monday, Jan 3 2011. Mrs Wessels and son Ricardo, 9, were shot. The Reiners couple and 9-year-old son Ricardo were in a combi, transporting household goods while Mrs Wessels waited with the other two sons in the family Mercedes in the driveway.
“The next moment two (black) men dragged us from the Mercedes in the driveway,’ said Rev Reiners. “They forced my mother and the boys to lie down on the wet pavement in the rain and bashed me over the head while I was trying to crawl towards my family’ from the combi. The dominee was repeatedly kicked and beaten while his sons were being plucked about.
Mrs Reinders said she then started praying out loud for God to help the quieter of these two gunmen. He then told me: ‘thanks, we won’t hurt you’. “When they were about to leave in the combi, the other gunman stood right in front of us and fired two shots…” she said.
One bullet hit the mother, Mrs Wessels in the ankle, and the other bullet lodged inside Ricardo’s left arm. The couple were forced to hand over their wallets and cellphones before trying to flee in their Combi. However it was found 300 metres farther down the road after ‘the engine quit’.
“I wish I could lock my heart-break in this locker and never unlock it again..’ Ricardo Reiners
Mrs Reiners remains magnanimous towards the people who had robbed them and the man who had shot her mother and son: “We don’t hate them. We are just grateful to still have one another,’ she said. Gloria Edwards of Beeld interviewed the family in Arwyp Hospital after the two bullets were removed.
Richardo was clearly incredulous about being lied to - and heartbroken: “He told us they wouldn’t hurt. He lied to us…” he said. After the surgical removal of the bullet from his arm, Ricardo reportedly had also told his parents, Dutch-Reformed Rev Dean Reiners and his mom Tryna: “I wish I could lock my heart-break in this locker behind my hospital bed and never unlock it again…’
It’s not the first time they have been targetted by black criminals: both were also hijhacked previously in two different occasions. “People must stay positive and continue praying for the criminals,’ he said. “I can now other crime-victims deal with their traumas.’ http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Dankie-vir-gebed-toe-skiet-hy-20110104
Reported attacks on whites in South Africa from June 2010 to Jan 3 2011
Summary: Afrikaans couple locked up 2 nights in overcrowded, cockroach-infested Namibian cell for ‘not having the right stamps in their passports’'; Wikus van Zyl held captive 3 hours by six black males in Sebokeng - but four police stations refuse to take his complaint
Jan 3 2010 – Volksblad reports that the Afrikaans “Idols” contestant Andriette Norman and boyfriend Marcel Olivier were held for two nights in the overcrowded police-cells of Wanaheda near Windhoek, Namibia because they didn’t have ‘the correct stamps in their South African passports…’
Janice Keogh reports in Volksblad that the young couple were arrested on Sunday-evening and released on Tuesday-morning. In a fast-track ‘trial’ the following morning, they werefined R10,000 and ordered to leave Namibia at once.
The couple, Norman (24) en Olivier (26) had spent New Year’s Eve in Swakopmund and were enroute to Marcel’s family friend Martin Wiese when the white couple were stopped at a road block by immigration officials at Brakrivier near Windhoek – it’s not a border post…
‘ This was a human error yet they were treated like criminals: ’
Local taxpayer Mr Wiese, testifying on their behalf two days later, told the Katutura magistrate that the young couple were arrested ‘because they had only obtained stamps in their passports on the South African side. They didn’t know that they also had to get stamps on the Namibian side,’ he said. “This was the first time they had ever travelled alone to Namibia. This was a human error and yet they were treated like criminals.’
Ms Norman said after their release: ‘when one is young one learns of one’s mistakes.’ She also couldn’t wait to take a bath after leaving the police-cells. “I felt like a rotten dog.’ She and Olivier saw each other through the bars of the cells where they were locked up seperately with about 30 other men and women. “There was no place to lie down’, she said. They tried to sleep hunching down. The cells were covered in cock-roaches. “I cried terribly when I was inside. It was a horrifying experience for me’ she said. “I told my dad over the phone that I could not remain another night like that I felt like a criminal.”
The couple never realised that they would be dumped in an overcrowded, coackroach-infested Namibian police cell for two nights, Volksblad writes: ‘just after their arrest, Marcel Olivier still wrote on his face book page: “Awesome ride saam die Namib Polisie!!! Lekker free akkomodasie vanaand!” (Awesome ride with the Namib police Nice free accommodation tonight…’
Namibian foreign affairs spokesman Clayson Monyela also got in his official two-cents worth by saying that they ‘didn’t know about the incident’ but that the family ‘could contact the authorities to clarify matters’. http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Idols-ster-vrygelaat-na-twee-dae-in-polisieselle-20110104-2
- “Be happy you are alive – we can’t help you,’ said Sebokeng cops…
2011-01-04 PARYS. Free State. – 38-year-old Wikus van Zyl of Parys went through a three-hour nightmare kidnapping ordeal, when six armed black males kept him imprisoned in a small house in the dusty, crime-infested Sebokeng township, about 30km away from Johannesburg. One black man kept threatening to kill him, ominously running his knife across Van Zyl’s body.
The traumatised Van Zyl said he kept thinking of his wife, their two-year-old son and their unborn baby throughout his ordeal. And then to add insult to injury, four police officers at four different police stations then refused to help him lodge a formal complaint or to even investigate the house.
They claimed “that could only be done at Sebokeng” – and Van Zyl was terrified of going back into the township. “I could show the police right now where that house is located in Sebokeng, I can identify four of the six men who held me captive,’ he said. I cannot understand why the police don’t want to help. It’s always as if they don’t feel like helping.’ Parys SAPS spokesman Maselela Langa claims it was all a ‘misunderstanding.’ “Let the man go and speak to the station commander,’ he added.
Van Zyl got drawn into his ordeal after he had arranged to find a buyer for his bakkie, a Namibian man, and had arranged to meet the Namibian man at a dealership in Vanderbijlpark. The two men went to the bank after the buyer had viewed the car. The man claimed at the bank that he didn’t have the entire cash amount for the car and that another meeting would have to be arranged. This was done just before Christmas, again in Vanderbijlpark. “The man already knew my car and as I arrived at the parking lot of the dealership two men climbed into the bakkie with me and told me to drive to Sebokeng. The prospective buyer was waiting for him there with five other men, who all claimed they were ‘police detectives’. They accused Van Zyl of smuggling diamonds and threatened to ‘arrest him’. They took him to a small house and kept him inside, with the man with the knife threatening him while others kept on intimidating him demanding that he give them his bank card and pincode.
“A sturdily-built man came to me then and told me I had to go with him. I thought to mysef well this is it, I am going to be murdered’. The kidnappers then told Van Zyl to ‘drive away and never come back again’. The terrified Van Zyl’s ordeal with the cops started shortly thereafter when he stopped a police vehicle in Sebokeng. “Those cops told me I should be happy that I am still alive and that they can’t do a thing for me,’ he said.
Then Van Zyl drove to the police stations at Sasolburg, Parys eand Vanderbijlpark, where he also was turned away..http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Polisie-wys-man-glo-weg-na-nagmerrie-ervaring-20110104