From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 09:53:19 PST

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                     More revelations about the death of Steve Biko
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (December 8, 1997 11:06 a.m. EST
       http://www.nando.net) -- A former policeman testified Monday that he
       drove a semiconscious, naked Steve Biko more than 600 miles after a
       brutal interrogation in 1977, then lied to medical officials at a
       Pretoria prison about his condition.
       "I told the men ... he was making as if he was sick" and was on a hunger
       strike, former police Capt. Daniel Siebert told the Truth and
       Reconciliation Commission.
       Siebert is one of five former security policemen applying for amnesty in
       Biko's death. Biko, a black leader who was among the country's major
       anti-apartheid figures, became the subject of books and was portrayed by
       Denzel Washington in the 1987 film "Cry Freedom."
       In September, the amnesty committee heard how police butted Biko's head
       into a wall and then chained him crucifixion style for 24 hours to a
       gate while interrogating him in Port Elizabeth.
       The five amnesty applicants said then they never intended to seriously
       injure Biko or kill him during the interrogation, but they acknowledged
       it went wrong.
       The September hearing was interrupted for a national commemoration of
       the 20th anniversary of Biko's death Sept. 12. It resumed Monday.
       Lawyer George Bizos, who is representing Biko's family in opposing
       amnesty for the five applicants, said Monday he would show they were not
       telling the whole truth and their actions were not politically
       To receive amnesty, applicants must make full confessions to political
       Bizos, in questioning Siebert, challenged the former police officer's
       claim that Biko was transported naked in the back of a station wagon to
       Pretoria to prevent him from hanging himself.
       "You were prepared right to the end to insult his humanity by handing
       him over in a completely naked condition," Bizos said. "He was hardly
       able to move. How did you expect him to lift himself up and commit
       suicide in his miserable condition? Did you expect a person at death's
       door to be strong enough to lift himself up?"
       Bizos also questioned Siebert on the beating given Biko during
       interrogation, reading from a report at a 1977 inquest into Biko's death
       that described one blow as similar to a punch from a boxer on the
       forehead that smashes the brain into the other side of the head.
       Siebert said he was unable to say who delivered punches to which parts
       of Biko's body during the interrogation.
       Pretoria prison officials have testified that Biko's mouth was open, he
       had difficulty breathing and his eyes were staring upward when he
       arrived. The 30-year-old Biko died shortly afterward.
       Biko was labeled a terrorist by the apartheid government for preaching
       that blacks should take pride in their culture and fight for control of
       the country. His death provoked international outrage and mobilized the
       anti-apartheid movement at home.
       Among the officers seeking amnesty with Siebert are former Col. Harold
       Snyman, who led the team that interrogated Biko, and Lt. Col. Gideon
       Nieuwoudt, who has applied for amnesty in 10 other killings.
       Nieuwoudt was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for his part in
       a 1989 bomb blast that killed three colleagues and a police informer.
       Under the leadership of retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Truth
       Commission has approved amnesty in about a third of the cases it has
       acted on. More than 5,000 applications are pending.
       By PAT REBER, Associated Press Writer

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