South African government denies parole to death squad chief from apartheid era

The South African government has denied parole to the former head of a covert police unit that tortured and killed dozens of people during white minority rule.

Michael Masutha, the minister of justice and correctional services, said Thursday that families of those killed by Eugene de Kock's unit had not been sufficiently consulted in line with the parole process.

De Kock, who confessed to murder and other crimes and was sentenced to life in prison, has been in jail since the end of apartheid in 1994. In applying for parole, he said he is the only member of the former police force serving time for crimes committed on behalf of South Africa's old order and maintained that he acted on instructions from leaders who were never punished.