Some charges dropped against S.Africa's 'Dr Death'

26th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's health council on Monday threw out some of the charges against Wouter Basson, the head of the country's apartheid-era germ warfare programme.

The scrapped charges relate to conducting tests on members of the special forces troops and the South Police Task Force using incapacitating agents.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) said it was advised that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict on these charges.

Basson now faces charges relating to making cyanide capsules available to operational officers for suicide and providing substances to tranquilise prisoners.

The abuses are said to have been committed between 1981 and 1993.

The charges, which earned Basson the nickname of "Dr Death", were first brought against him in 2007.

In 2010, a court dismissed his application to have the hearing declared unlawful, unreasonable and unfair.

If found guilty, Basson who runs a cardiology practice in Cape Town could have his licence revoked.

Speaking to journalists during a break, Basson said he wanted to close that chapter of his life and continue serving as a doctor .

"I closed this chapter 20 years ago," SAPA news agency reported.

"All I want is to continue serving the country as a medical professional".

In 2002, Basson declined to seek amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which heard political crimes committed during the apartheid era.

The hearing continues on Tuesday in Pretoria.

© 2011 AFP

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