Report Torture In South Africa

Affidavits which describe the torture of political prisoners in South Africa by electric shocks and beatings have been distributed in Cambridge by Diana Russell 1G, a member of South Africa's multiracial Liberal Party.

The affidavits were made last month by seven Africans who had been jailed under the "No-Trial" bill enacted last May. The bill empowers the police to hold anyone incommunicado for an indefinite succession of 90-day periods withotu making any charge or bringing them to trial.

One African was arrested in June. "When I reached the police station," he says, "I was told to undress except for my trousers. One African policeman was called and handcuffed me with my hands behind my back and a sack over my head. On my small fingers electric wires were connected to a current. I cried and fell down. If it fell lose it would be inserted under my trousers. I was knocked with fists and sticks. I then promised to talk."

"When I complained I was being killed, wires were once more connected," he continues. "When I fell down, a policeman stood on my head with his feet."

Another wrote: "I was confined in a small cell which has light. Since there were no facilities for passing urine one was often forced to use the mug which is used for drinking tea. Electic wires were tied on my second fingers of both hands. My eyes were now covered. Then I was given electric shocks. When I cried without giving information they untied me and the two fingers next to the thumb were tied. I was once more given shocks. Even then there was no information I could give...One detective said if I reported what was done to me to a magistrate I would once more be given electric shocks."

The other affidavits are similar.

So far 500 persons have been arrested under the "No-Trial" bill. Of these 120 are still being jailed with no charge made against them. The government contends this action is necessary to forestall terrorism.