Lawyer Admits Suspect’s Guilt in Slaying of Black Leader
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Prosecutors proved that a white extremist gunned down black leader Chris Hani, the suspect’s lawyer conceded Wednesday as the murder trial neared its end.
″I acknowledged he was guilty,″ attorney Eben Jordaan told reporters after his closing argument in defense of Janusz Walus, a 38-year-old Polish immigrant.
Walus and two leading pro-apartheid figures are charged in the assassination. Police arrested Walus 10 minutes after Hani, the Communist Party leader and a top African National Congress official, was shot to death April 10.
Ballistic tests proved a pistol found in the car Walus was driving was the murder weapon. Jordaan had been expected to argue the gun was planted in Walus’s car, but Walus refused to take the stand.
″The ballistic evidence presents insurmountable difficulties for me to ask for an acquittal,″ Jordaan told Judge Frikkie Eloff.
Lawyers for the other two defendants - Conservative Party official Clive Derby-Lewis and his wife, Gaye - were expected to present closing arguments Thursday.
If convicted, the three could be sentenced to death, although South Africa has suspended executions until a post-apartheid government considers the issue.
Clive Derby-Lewis is accused of giving Walus the murder weapon, and his wife is accused of drawing up a hit list that included Hani, ANC leader Nelson Mandela and Communist Party leader Joe Slovo.
″The Derby-Lewises handed the pistol to Walus to eliminate their enemies,″ prosecutor Klaus van Lieres said in summarizing the state’s case.
Mrs. Derby-Lewis, the only defendant to testify, said the alleged hit list was part of her research for articles she planned to write for a right-wing newspaper.
″Killing is an option, but it’s not my option,″ she told the court.
Hani’s death came as the ANC and the governing National Party were making progress on plans for South Africa’s first multiracial elections. The black- led ANC is expected to win the election April 27.
In earlier testimony, Walus’ girlfriend described him as a fierce anti- communist who feared activists like Hani would destroy the white paradise he found when he immigrated in 1981. Maria Ras said Walus was a member of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement.