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South African Trials

Transcripts of political cases.
Peripherally related to the Rivonia Trial is File 4: Inquest to establish cause of death of Looksmart Ngudle. It contains: transcript of complete proceedings. Pretoria, 21st Oct. 1963 - 23rd Dec. 1963. Looksmart Ngudle, a ninety-day detainee held under the Sabotage Act, was found dead, hanging in his cell at Pretoria Central Police Station, on September 5th, after 16 days in detention. He had been arrested in Cape Town and was found in possession of a firearm and some African National Congress leaflets. The four witnesses, held at the same time as Ngudle, said when cross-examined by the Defence that they had been tortured with electric shocks and severe beatings. One said that he was forced to sign a statement claiming that Ngudle was an important Umkonto we Sizwe leader (Ngudle was named in the Rivonia Trial as a co-conspirator). Each of the witnesses stated that Ngudle had told them that he was being tortured. The state claimed that Ngudle hanged himself because he had betrayed his comrades and had been told that he was going to be sentenced to death anyway. Further evidence of torture was ruled irrelevant: the court refused to accept the Defence's contention that torture (which the police denied) was a contributing factor to Ngudle's suicide. The hearing was adjourned.

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