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South Africa Grants Parole To Notorious Apartheid-Era Death Squad Leader

Eugene De Kock a former Vlakplaas commander speaks to the judge at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1999. De Kock, the apartheid regime's top assassin, asked the commission for amnesty for over 100 incidents of torture, murder and fraud.

The South African government has decided to grant parole to a notorious Apartheid-era death squad leader.

As The Guardian reports, Eugene de Kock, who was known as "Prime Evil," was sentenced to two life terms in connection to the killings.

The Guardian adds:

"South Africa's justice minister, Michael Masutha, told a news conference on Friday De Kock would be released 'in the interests of nation-building and reconciliation' and because he had expressed remorse at his crimes and helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

"The decision, which had been deferred several times over the last year, remains contentious in a country still dealing with the legacy of repression and brutality meted out by the white-minority regime that prevailed from 1948 to 1994.

"Masutha stressed that his decision was guided only by the law, an attempt to deflect criticism from the many South Africans – black and white – who regard De Kock's crimes as so extreme he should die behind bars."

According to South Africa's News 24, de Kock's release date will remain secret.

As the BBC explains, before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission De Kock confessed to dozens of acts of torture and murder.

The BBC spoke to Sandra Mama, whose husband was killed by de Kock in 1992.

She supported the government's decision to release him.

"I think it will actually close a chapter in our history because we've come a long way and I think his release will just once again help with the reconciliation process because there's still a lot of things that we need to do as a country," she told the network.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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