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‘I have never assaulted Carl Niehaus’

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A former security branch officer has denied claims by MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus that he had subjected him to severe torture.

MKMVA national spokesperson Carl Niehaus Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg – Former security branch police officer Nick Deetlefs has denied claims by Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus that he had subjected him to severe torture while he was detained at the John Vorster Square during apartheid.

Deetlefs is currently under cross-examination at the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett, whose lifeless body was found hanging in his cell at the station after days of torture in 1982.

Deetlefs is among a number of special branch officers accused of having tortured key political activists during interrogation, including Aggett.

Niehaus is set to take the stand at the inquest on the alleged assaults by Deetlefs, who denied having laid a hand on him.

“I am the one who was interrogating him (Niehaus). I have never assaulted him. I have never come across someone who lies like him,” Deetlefs said.

While he admitted to being also among apartheid cops who interrogated Aggett, he denied having tortured or assaulted him.

Aggett’s family lawyer, advocate Howard Varney accused Deetlefs of giving false evidence to the inquest after he gave conflicting testimony regarding his role in the tortures at the notorious 10th floor of the station, where political activists were being interrogated.

On Monday, Deetlefs had first indicated that he had never assaulted any of the detainees as it was against his principles, adding that he had never personally seen a detainee being tortured even though he knew it was a frequent practice.

On Tuesday, Deetlefs however admitted that he had personally assaulted some of the detainees during interrogation, including former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, by slapping them.

Deetlefs continues with his testimony.

IOL