Ashley Kriel was killed in July, 1987 in Athlone after a stand-off with security police.

Cape Town - Celebrating freedom fighter Ashley Kriel’s birthday more than 20 years after his death is still an emotional day for his family.

His sister Michel Assure said knowing the investigation into her brother’s murder had been reopened had made the day a little easier to deal with as the hope they could finally find peace.

She said the family didn’t do anything special to celebrate what would have been her brother’s 50th birthday on Monday, but she thought of him a lot more on the day.

“On his birthday it is just so much more and I get more emotional than on other days. I was thinking that he would have been 50 and it would have been weird to think of him as my little brother, because he would have been so old. He would have been my old little brother.”

Assure said the last time she saw her brother alive was when he was 18, and the next time was when she had to identify his body.

Kriel was killed in July, 1987 in Athlone after a stand-off with security police. Captain Jeffrey Benzien was granted amnesty by the TRC for his role in Kriel’s death. Security police officers told the TRC Kriel was shot while resisting arrest.

Earlier this year the Hawks announced they would re-open the case after evidence suggested Kriel may have been murdered.

Assure said they were not happy with the initial investigation and hopes this one would yield better results. “We haven’t found closure yet, we will always wonder about what actually happened on that day. At the scene there were so many things that didn’t sit right with me; like there was a bloody spade at the back and he had a deep gash on his forehead, bloody towels and bloodied clothes that all leaves us with question marks.”

“It raises some hope there will be a good ending to this. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would get another investigator.”

Hawks provincial spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they had not received any new information.

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Cape Argus