Bail for accused in Hani murder case

Click to follow
The Independent Online
GAYE DERBY-LEWIS, one of the three accused of the murder of Chris Hani, a leader of the African National Congress, was released on bail yesterday pending her appearance for trial on 6 October. The ANC described the decision of the Rand Supreme Court as 'outrageous', saying it would 'only fuel perceptions that the state views black lives as cheap'.

Mrs Derby-Lewis, an Australian born former nun, was ordered to hand in her passport to the court and to pay 30,000 rand ( pounds 6,000) bail. Justice C Plewman also instructed the police to keep her under round-the-clock supervision at a secret venue. The judge explained that such supervision would eliminate, or at least reduce, concern for her safety. It would also ensure she would not leave the country or try to contact state witnesses.

As a further guarantee that she would not abscond, the judge said, Mrs Derby-Lewis has handed documents to the Attorney-General which would make it possible to extradite her from countries that do not have an extradition agreement with South Africa. The ANC, expressing its bafflement as to how this last condition could be enforced, said it feared Mrs Derby-Lewis's 'international right- wing connections' might facilitate her escape. Her husband Clive, a former MP of the South African Conservative Party who is also a defendant, is himself prominent in international right-wing circles.

The third accused is Janusz Walus, a Polish emigre and a member of Eugene Terreblanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB). Identified by police as the man who fired the shots that killed Hani on 10 April, bail in his case was not considered.

All three face charges of murder and conspiracy to murder, and possession of illegal firearms.

In a statement, the ANC drew attention to two recent cases where black people accused of killing whites had been refused bail. 'We ask: was the accused in the Hani case granted bail because the victim in this instance is black and in the other cases the victims were white?'

The ANC's outrage was also expressed yesterday in a case with a white victim. The Afrikaans newspaper Beeld reported that Nelson Mandela had telephoned a reporter to praise him for refusing to reveal information to the police. Andries Cornelissen, 23, was sentenced to one year in jail last week for not passing on information obtained at a rally where the ANC Youth League president led the crowd in the chant 'Kill the Boer, Kill the farmer'.