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S.Africa to probe docs on Biko's death

JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 29 -- South Africa's commission investigating human rights abuses during the apartheid era will re-exam the medical profession's role in the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. The announcement Wednesday comes a day after the commission announced five former security police officers had applied for amnesty in connection with Biko's death.

A leader of South Africa's black consciousness movement in the 1970s, Biko died from head injuries a month after he was arrested. Police have long claimed he fell and struck his head. Anti-apartheid organizations say he was murdered. Biko's death made him a martyr for anti-apartheid activists. His life and death formed the basis of the 1987 film 'Cry Freedom.' The Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it will meet in June. The commission says it will ask why the country's governing medical bodies waited eight years before investigating the roles surgeons played in Biko's death. Biko's death was examined in 1985 by the South African Medical and Dental Council. As a result of their conclusions, one doctor was struck from the medical roll relating to the lack of medical care given to Biko. Another doctor was cautioned and reprimanded. ---

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Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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