‘Public violence’ charges against Delft AEC member and two others get thrown out of court

27 01 2009

Delft AEC Press Statement
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today, Delft AEC member,Riedwaan Davids, and two other individuals accused of public violence during the violent mass evictions on the 19th of February, 2008, had their case thrown out of court.

For the past 11 months, Riedwaan Davids has had to worry about the pending case in which police accused him of throwing rocks at the Sheriff of the Court. Riedwaan was arrested immediately after police, without warning, opened fire on residents. They arrested him when they found him hiding inside an N2 Gateway house with other residents and members of the media. Despite the charges, everyone present in Section 2 that day knows (and can testify) that not a single stone was thrown before the police shot over 20 residents and three children.

As part of their defense, Riedwaan had planned testimony from an children’s NGO worker who took this video footage. The footage (video 1), shows Riedwaan (in a white t-shirt and blue hat) attempting to calm down angry residents about 10 seconds before the police opened fire.

While relieved that the case was thrown out, Riedwaan was upset that the case was postponed four times without any reason. Anti-Eviction Campaign members were also disappointed that they did not get a chance to show the clear aggression of police in this matter (video 2).

The Anti-Eviction Campaign sees the constant arrest of its members (with the matter either never making it to court or getting thrown out of court) as a violation of people’s rights. It is an intimidation tactic that police officers use punish activists all over South Africa and make residents scared to protest in the future.

The AEC welcomes Riedwaan Davids back and hopes he will continue to fight with others in the community for land and housing!.

For comment, contact Aunty Jane at 0784031302

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