'Dr Death's' fate to be decided from today

JANUARY 19, 2015

Apartheid-era chemical warfare expert, Dr Wouter Basson, will know his fate on Monday when sentencing proceedings in the disciplinary process against him start in Pretoria.

Dr Basson, dubbed Dr Death by the press, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) in December 2013, following a six-year long inquiry.

The HPCSA's professional conduct committee chairperson, Professor Jannie Hugo, ruled that Basson contravened international protocols and conventions.

The inquiry related to Basson's involvement in Project Coast in the 1980s and early 1990s. Project Coast secretly researched chemical and biological warfare in violation of the international Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention agreement. He allegedly recruited about 200 researchers from around the world for the project and received annual funds equivalent to US$10 million.

Among the charges of unethical conduct against him were providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings; and making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.

Basson argued that he acted as a soldier and not a doctor. 

In 2002, he was acquitted of 67 charges, after having been suspended from his military post with full pay in 1999.