SOUTH AFRICA: Inquest into a Curious Death

For vivid moments, it took on the aura of a political trial

Lawyer: What right did you have to keep a man in chains for 48 hours? ... I am asking for the statute.

Witness: We don't work under statutes.

Lawyer: Thank you very much, Colonel. That is what we always suspected.

The lawyer was Sydney Woolf Kentridge, one of South Africa's most able trial attorneys; the witness was Colonel Pieter Johannes Goosen, the officer in charge of security police at Port Elizabeth. Their angry exchange in Pretoria last week provided the dramatic high point of...

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