Charges dropped against nuclear accused

Charges were withdrawn on Wednesday against Johan Meyer, arrested in Vanderbijlpark under laws governing weapons of mass destruction, a court official told Sapa.

Meyer was arrested last week, and 11 shipping containers containing components of a gas centrifuge and related documentation were seized from his factory premises in the town’s industrial zone.

He faced three charges under South Africa’s Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and the Nuclear Energy Act as part of an international investigation which includes the International Atomic Energy Agency.

A statement on Tuesday from South Africa’s Council for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons said the investigation was “in the context” of the AQ Khan “network”

Abdul Khan was a leading figure in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, and was involved in the final test detonation of Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb.

In 2001 he lost his position on the orders of President Pervez Musharraf, and has since reportedly claimed that he was privately supplying components to produce nuclear weapons to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Council chairperson Abdul Minty said the items confiscated did not “constitute a weapon of mass destruction, but they are essential components in the process to enrich uranium”. - Sapa

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