Basson may lose his medical license, faces more charges

The man in charge of the apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare programs in South Africa has had the number of charges of unethical conduct against him reduced, but still faces the loss of his medical license.

The South African Health Professions’ Council recently withdrew two of its six charges of unethical conduct against Dr. Wouter Basson, a cardiologist who was at the head of the nation’s covert chemical and biological warfare programs during the 1980s, according to Monsters and Critics.

Basson is still accused of manufacturing incapacitating drugs and tear gas for use in Angola, where South Africa was supporting one side in a vicious civil war. He is also accused of helping to distribute cyanide to South African soldiers so they could commit suicide if caught cross-border or on illegal missions.

A Pretoria court acquitted Basson of 46 criminal charges made against him, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, fraud and drug offenses, Monsters and Critics reports. Basson, for his part, said he was a civil servant acting on official orders.

The medical ethics committee brought new charges against Basson in 2007. They are seeking to have his medical license revoked for violations of their professional code of conduct.

Basson declined to seek amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which allows people to confess and then escape punishment for crimes committed before 1994. The doctor says he has left his past behind him and now only wants to focus on his cardiology practice.