Killers of S.African politician Hani attacked in prison

by Reuters
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 17:13 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The convicted killers of South African anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani were attacked by a fellow inmate wielding a kitchen spoon, a correctional services spokesman said on Wednesday.

Clive Derby-Lewis and Janus Walus suffered head and hand injuries after they were attacked by an inmate at a Pretoria prison, spokesman Manelisi Wolela said in a statement.

The two had been treated and told officials the matter was "nothing serious", Wolela said. Police were investigating the attack, he said.

Derby-Lewis and Walusz are serving life sentences for the 1993 murder of Hani, a charismatic activist and politician, who was both a senior member of the African National Congress (ANC)and the head of the communist party when he was gunned down.

His murder threatened to derail South Africa's transition from white minority rule to multi-racial democracy, leading to riots across the country and triggering fears of a civil war.

Walus, a Polish immigrant to South Africa, shot Hani dead oustide his home. During his trial it emerged that Derby-Lewis, a right-wing politician, had arranged the weapon.

Both men were originally sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life in prison after South Africa abolished the death penalty in 1995.

Derby-Lewis has served nearly 20 years, and has been twice denied medical parole for cancer, according to the South African Press Association. (Reporting by David Dolan; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.