George Bizos: Anti-apartheid lawyer who defended Mandela dies aged 92

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picture captionGeorge Bizos is finest identified for defending Nelson Mandela at his trials
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Top South African human rights lawyer George Bizos, who famously defended Nelson Mandela, has died aged 92.

After representing a few of the nation’s finest identified political activists through the apartheid years, Mr Bizos turned one of many architects of South Africa’s new structure.

President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced his dying, saying Mr Bizos had “contributed immensely to our democracy”.

His household mentioned he “died peacefully at dwelling of pure causes”.

Leading tributes on Wednesday, President Ramaphosa described Mr Bizos as an “incisive authorized thoughts”, and mentioned his dying was “very unhappy for us as a rustic”.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation mentioned “one other big of South African historical past and of world struggles for justice has fallen.”

What was his relationship with Mandela?

George Bizos is most generally identified for his work with Nelson Mandela.

The pair met whereas learning legislation in Johannesburg and Mr Bizos went on to signify his good friend and different anti-apartheid figures in varied court docket circumstances.

He was one of many attorneys who represented Mandela at his treason trial, which started in 1956.

He additionally represented Mandela through the Rivonia Trial, when he and different anti-apartheid activists had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 on prices of searching for to overthrow the apartheid authorities.

Mr Bizos is credited with including the phrases “if wants be” to Mandela’s well-known speech on the trial, through which he mentioned he was ready to die.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation mentioned Mr Bizos performed a “important function… each professionally and as a household good friend” through the years of Mandela’s incarceration.

In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela describes Mr Bizos as “a person who mixed a sympathetic nature with an incisive thoughts”.

The basis mentioned the friendship between the lads “spanned greater than seven many years and was legendary.”

“In the final years of Mandela’s life, they had been typically to be discovered collectively, simply catching up, sharing reminiscences, or heading off on automobile rides to see, yet another time, locations of significance of their life journeys,” it added.

What else will we find out about him?

George Bizos was born in Greece however got here to South Africa on the age of 13 as a World War Two refugee.

Before transferring to South Africa, he and his father helped seven New Zealand soldiers to escape Nazi-occupied Greece.

He fell out of training for an prolonged time frame and labored as a substitute in a Greek store, after arriving in Johannesburg with no English.

He later educated as a lawyer at South Africa’s Witwatersrand college, earlier than being admitted to the Johannesburg Bar.

After the top of white minority rule, Mr Bizos helped to put in writing South Africa’s new structure. He additionally represented households of anti-apartheid activists who had been killed throughout apartheid on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In considered one of his final main trials, he secured authorities payouts for households of 34 mine workers who were killed by South African police in 2012.
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