S. Africa Frees 2 Americans, 1 of San Diego

Times Staff Writer

Two Americans, one of them from San Diego, who were arrested over the weekend by South African security forces, were released Wednesday and are leaving the strife-torn nation, a U.S. consular official in Cape Town said.

Vice Consul Jim Gray said in a telephone interview that Scott Daugherty, 19, of San Diego and Rodney Williams, a retired Army lieutenant colonel from Hawaii, were released late Wednesday night from South Africa's Pollsmoor Prison.

Another U.S. citizen remains jailed in the Pretoria region, said State Department spokesman Bruce Awmmerman. But Awmmerman, citing privacy laws, declined to identify the man or where he is jailed. U.S. officials do not know the charges against the man but they are working on his release, Awmmerman said.

Five Americans have been arrested since the government crackdown began a week ago.

Ronald S. Minor, 31, an Anaheim resident, was arrested Saturday and charged with interfering with police. Minor was released after a few hours and has a court appearance June 26, Awmmerman said.

The Rev. Brian Burchfield, a Lutheran missionary from Seattle, Wash., living in South Africa, was arrested Sunday but released after a few hours. Burchfield and Minor are still in South Africa.

Gray declined to give any details about Daugherty's and Williams' release except to say that Daugherty is scheduled to leave on Friday and Williams on Wednesday. U.S. consular officials in Cape Town said that the charges against both men were never made public by South African authorities but that they were detained under the provisions of a nationwide state of emergency that gives police wide discretionary powers.

Daugherty was arrested Sunday along with 250 people attending a prayer service in an Anglican church in a Cape Town suburb. Gray said that Williams was arrested Monday outside a church but that he did not know where. Daugherty arrived in South Africa on April 17, to help the victims of apartheid, according to family members and friends. Williams was vacationing in South Africa, Gray said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World