Cape Town slammed for failing to spot terror link

November 22, 2002

Police have criticised Cape Town University for not digging "deeper" into the background of academic Charles Pape who faces extradition to the US on terrorist charges, writes Karen MacGregor.

Dr Pape, the alias of James Kilgore, has been on the US Federal Bureau of Investigations' most-wanted list for years. He was rearrested last week for alleged violation of immigration rules immediately after a failed US court bid to keep him in custody pending an extradition request.

He is the only member at large of the Symbionese Liberation Army, which rose to prominence in the 1970s with a string of armed robberies. It famously kidnapped media heiress Patty Hearst, who joined the cause.

Dr Pape has worked with the university's international labour resource and information group since early 1998 as a researcher. Gerda Kruger, head of communication and marketing, said there was nothing unusual in Dr Pape's appointment.

He had competed with other candidates, provided a curriculum vitae, two referees and copies of his US passport and permanent South African residency.

"After his interview with a selection panel, UCT assured itself of his competencies, abilities and track record in the field of international labour issues. We were happy with his outstanding academic reputation," she said, "and accepted his credentials as bona fide."

She added: "There was no telling he had another identity. Even if UCT had investigated 'deeper', the university would not have been alerted to his 'actual' identity, as alleged by the police."

UCT spokesperson Shireen Sedres said Mr Kilgore was "highly regarded as an academic. He is viewed as an outstanding researcher. His level of professionalism is noteworthy and he is well published."

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