South African death squad commander gets parole

Johannesburg, Jan 30 (IANS) South African apartheid-era death squad commander Eugene de Kock was given parole Friday after 20 years in prison.

He was nicknamed “Prime Evil” for his role in the killing and maiming of activists fighting White minority rule in the 1980s and early 1990s, BBC reported.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha said De Kock would be released “in the interests of nation-building”.
De Kock, 66, was sentenced in 1996 to two life terms in prison and a further 212 years for the crimes he committed.
Masutha said the time and place of De Kock’s release would not be made public.
The former colonel was head of the notorious Vlakplaas police unit.
He appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which was established a year after South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994.
De Kock confessed to more than 100 acts of murder, torture and fraud, taking full responsibility for the activities of his undercover unit.
He was granted amnesty for most offences but the TRC only had the power to grant amnesty to human rights violators whose crimes were linked to a political motive and who made a full confession.
During the TRC hearings, he described the murders of a number of African National Congress (ANC) members in various countries including Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Angola, naming the police commander above him in each case.
While in prison, he made contact with some of his victims’ families, asking for forgiveness.