The South African government released apartheid-era death squad leader Eugene de Kock on parole, after serving 20 years in jail. Nicknamed “Prime Evil,” by his own officers, de Kock was the commander of an apartheid state covert unit behind the killing and mutilating black activists against the white majority rule in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. According to BBC News Africa, Justice Minister Michael Masutha stated his decision to give de Kock parole from his sentence of two life terms plus 212 years was for “in the interests of nation-building, “and because he showed remorse for the crimes.
In 1983 de Kock, a former colonel was placed in charge of the C10 police unit where officers would torture and kill activists against apartheid at a farm called Vlakplass, located outside Pretoria. Under de Kock’s rule, the unit was later known as C1, which became a death squad that tracked down and killed those against the National Party, known for being pro racial segregation. During his testimony at South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he testified about the unit’s cruelty, where he described how the group participated in torturing victims for hours who were naked, beaten and strangled. de Kock admitted to the horrifying activities after stories of secret squad came to light, where officers burned their victims while they barbecued. de Kock and the officers also would pile the bodies of the victims up on explosives and blew them up. de Kock confessed to over 100 acts of murder and torture, where he claimed former presidents F.W. de Klerk and P.W Botha gave him the orders to participate in the heinous acts. Both men denied de Kock’s charges. In 1994, de Kock was arrested and sentenced in 1996.