The Week Ahead: Hani murder trial gets under way

A 'SMOKING GUN' is the key piece of evidence in the trial that opens today in Johannesburg of three white extremists accused of killing the South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in April. Janusz Walus and Clive and Gaye Derby-Lewis are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of firearms.

Security at the Supreme Court will be extra tight, as the case is expected to draw to the courtroom politically fired-up supporters of both Hani's and the defendants' camps.

Mr Walus was arrested shortly after Hani was shot dead. A pistol in his car was linked to the shooting and bloodstains matching Hani's were found on his clothes. Mr Derby-Lewis, a leader of the Conservative Party, is accused of buying the gun. Mrs Derby-Lewis had allegedly obtained a list of addresses of ANC leaders. If convicted, all three face possible death sentences.

Life imprisonment may await defendants in another trial opening today of four men of Palestinian origin accused of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in February, causing the death of six people and injuring 1000.

On the subject of terrorism with a Middle East link, Britain, France and the US meet today at the UN to discuss the Lockerbie affair. The three put a resolution to the Security Council on Friday to tighten sanctions on Libya for refusing to hand over two men accused of blowing up the Pan Am plane in 1988, killing 270 people. The Libyans' lawyers say they will meet today or tomorrow to advise their clients on whether they should stand trial in Scotland. Scottish lawyers have been invited to Libya to persuade the two to do so.

The veteran Socialist leader, Andreas Papandreou, is tipped for a comeback when Greece holds early elections on Sunday. But the barons of industry and finance have shown no panic at the prospect of the return of the erstwhile anti-American firebrand. They think that Greece's huge debt, and the highest inflation rate in the EC, will keep Mr Papandreou's radical urges in check.

The Pope's encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, which asserts the existence of a morality that transcends all cultures, appears tomorrow. But many, including dissenting Catholics, may prefer to read Susan Hill's novel Mrs de Winter, the sequel to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. It has been translated into 19 languages and is to be published in more than 20 countries today.

Comments