At least 216 people died in police custody last year

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has revealed that deaths while in police detention and allegations of assault and torture are continuing in South Africa and are not limited to the dark days of apartheid.

Ipid statistics showed that a shocking 216 people died in police custody in 2015/16, of which 66 were reported as deaths by suicide in the form of hangings. In the same year, Ipid received 3 466 complaints of assault and 144 of torture.

Advocate Howard Varney, acting for the family of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, yesterday handed in Ipid statistics as evidence in the reopened inquest into Timol’s death.

Timol died in October 1971 after plunging from a 10th-storey window at John Vorster Square in Johannesburg, which was then the security police’s headquarters.


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