South Africa Opens Apartheid Gallows Monument

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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South Africa has opened a monument at a former gallows once used to execute anti-apartheid prisoners.

During an inauguration ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said more than 130 political prisoners were put to death at the gallows, some while singing anti-apartheid songs.

The monument at the Pretoria Central Prison includes a memorial and a museum, which includes the death row block housing for the gallows.

Mr. Zuma said under the apartheid government, the prisoners were considered “terrorists or trouble makers.” But to their families and others, he said, the prisoners were “freedom fighters” seeking a free and democratic South Africa.

Officials said more than 3,500 people were hanged at the gallows in all.

The government closed the site after it abolished capital punishment in 1995 following the end of white minority rule.