S.Africa: Court orders parole for killer of anti-apartheid hero
Janusz Walus, 69, has been serving nearly three decades of a life sentence for the murder of anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani.
South Africa's highest court ordered the parole of a Polish immigrant who shot dead a prominent anti-apartheid hero in 1993, nearly sparking a national war.
Janusz Walus, 69, has been serving nearly three decades of a life sentence for the murder, which pushed South Africa to the verge of civil war as negotiations to end apartheid neared their final stages.
Walus assassinated Chris Hani, a popular Communist Party leader, one year before South Africa's first multi-racial elections.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of the Constitutional Court ordered the justice minister to release Walus "on such terms and conditions as he may deem appropriate."
He stated that Walus must be released on parole within 10 days of Monday.
He "was convicted of a very terrible crime... cold-blooded murder," Zondo said, adding that "his actions almost plunged our country into civil turmoil," yet he was eligible for parole under the law.
Walus "seemed to have been set on derailing this country's attainment of democracy," Zondo stated of the assassination of Chris Hani.
Hani was the general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ruling African National Congress's armed wing.
On April 10, 1993, he was shot dead in his driveway in a town east of Johannesburg. Protests erupted in response to the tragedy.
Still negotiating an election date with the apartheid regime, then-ANC President Nelson Mandela spoke on national television to call for calm.
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