“For me it’s a done deal,” said Derby-Lewis’s lawyer Marius Coertze. Coertze said Derby-Lewis had been diagnosed with lung cancer which had already spread to nearly half of his lung.
He said a young, healthy person would have two to five years to live, but his client was not expected to live longer than a year. Because his client was 78, doctors would not operate on him.
Derby-Lewis is serving a 25 year prison sentence for his role in Hani’s killing.
“This is an easy decision, even a high school child can make this decision,” said Coertze referring to the decision about granting his client medical parole.
However Coertze said the “tragic part” was that things might not go as planned because his client’s case was political. He said Derby-Lewis had qualified for parole in 2008 but was not released because of “political vindictiveness”.
Coertze said if his client was not released this year he would die in jail and the SACP would get what they wanted all along, for Derby-Lewis to “rot in jail”.
Derby-Lewis’s wife, Gaye, said her husband had been refused parole four times.
“If he had been released in October 2008, we could have treated for his health problems and he would not be in the terrible situation he is in now, healthwise. Each time he was recommended by the Parole Board and each time it was stopped” she said.
SACP spokesperson Alex Ma-shilo rubbished the claims that they had directly influenced government and the ANC to keep Derby-Lewis in jail. Mashilo said Derby-Lewis had not told the whole truth regarding other details surrounding Hani’s murder, which showed that “he remained an unrepentant murderer who must rot in jail”.