Janusz Walus back in court in bid for freedom

Janusz Walus back in court in bid for freedom

Janusz Walus, the man who murdered SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani, is suffering irreparable harm through his continued incarceration, advocate Roelof du Plessis told the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Janusz Walus_gallo
File photo: Gallo Images

"If it eventually turns out a year later that you were right and that the applicant (Walus) was supposed to be released on parole, are they going to give him back a year of his life? How are they going to add a year to his life?" asked Du Plessis while addressing Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen.

He said no amount of money can compensate for the "irreparable harm".

"The only reason why the Minister (Michael Masutha) is bringing this application is because of bias and political pressure. It is our submission that political pressure has made him to oppose everything in this case," said Du Plessis.

"That should not infringe the rights of the applicant. They are taking away his right to serve his sentence on parole. That's the jest of this case. Parole is a continuation of sentence therefore no prejudice will follow should the applicant continue with his sentence on parole."

Walus's legal team is seeking a court order for his immediate release in the meantime, pending the outcome of a petition lodged by Masutha to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The appeal was launched after Janse van Nieuwenhuizen last week dismissed Masutha's application for leave to appeal her earlier judgment, which ordered the release of Walus with 14 days.

Since there is a petition to a higher court, Walus remains in jail. Roelof argued on Wednesday that the appeal process could take a year of Walus's life.

Hani was shot and killed by Walus on Easter Sunday, 10 April, 1993.

Walus was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in October 1993, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment.

Walus' application to be released on parole was initially turned down by Masutha, after which the convicted murderer sought the intervention of the high court to make a ruling for him to be released on parole.

His erstwhile co-accused Clive Derby-Lewis, who was also given a life sentence, was released on medical parole last year.

On 10 March, the high court ordered that Walus be released on parole within a fortnight, prompting Masutha to apply for leave to appeal. That appeal was dismissed by Janse van Nieuwenhuizen last week.

Hani's widow Limpho and several SACP leaders were in court on Wednesday, listening attentively during the court session. - ANA

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