This day in history: Steve Biko's death draws US Congress' attention

This day in history: Steve Biko's death draws US Congress' attention

- On this day in history, the death of Steve Biko sparked international attention

- The US Congress did not buy the security forces' account of what happened to Biko

- The American State Department spokesperson said it was "inconceivable" that no one was responsible for his death

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On 12 September, 1977, Steve Biko was killed while in detention at Pretoria Central Prison. The freedom fighter sustained fatal injuries during the interrogation process.

Just over a month later, on 16 October, 1977, the death of the anti-apartheid activist drew international interest.

The international media and the US Congress rejected the verdict by the presiding magistrate, who accepted the security forces' account of events and refused to prosecute any of those involved, Wikipedia reported.

The US State Department spokesman, Mr Hodding Carter, said it was "inconceivable" that there was no one responsible for Biko's death.

Carter said:

"It seems inconceivable, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the inquiry could render a verdict that no one was responsible."

Biko's family shared the US Congress' views and petitioned that those involved face the music. After the fall of apartheid, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to probe past human rights abuses.

Five police officers involved requested amnesty in return for information but in December, 1998, the Commission refused their request due to conflicting reports.

Charges were dropped against the cops in 2003 because the statute of limitations had elapsed and there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

READ ALSO: Grade 10 pupil wows Mzansi with self-built car: "Black excellence"

Steve Biko was one of the most notable anti-apartheid activists in the country's history. On the anniversary of his death, honoured Biko's legacy by taking a look at some of his most powerful quotes.

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