Death squad commander from apartheid-era South Africa Eugene de Kock has been granted parole after serving 20 years in prison.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said that De Kock would be released “in the interests of nation building”, with his decision guided by the South African constitution.

The time and place of his release would not be made public in the name of security.

De Kock, 66, received two life sentences and a further 212 years in 1996 for his role in the kidnap, torture, and murder of black activists fighting against the apartheid regime in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He earned the nicknamed “Prime Evil” in the in the 1990s after his honest testimony in front of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission demonstrated the brutality of the apartheid regime and directly implicated former government leaders in ordering the murder and subjugation of the black population.

During his testimony, De Kock admitted to more than 100 acts of murder, torture and fraud, taking and took full responsibility for the activities of the C10 counter-insurgency unit he led.

It is hoped that his release will close a chapter of South African history and allow for further reconciliation in South Africa.

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