Top human rights lawyer George Bizos died on Wednesday aged 92. I have just received news that legal eagle of our country George Bizos has passed away,” President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters.
“This is very sad for our country. Bizos represented Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial which saw Mandela and seven others sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 on charges of seeking to overthrow the racist apartheid government.
Many had expected the death penalty. Ramaphosa described Bizos as one of the lawyers who “contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy”.
“He had an incisive legal mind and was one of the architects of our constitution,” the president said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to George Bizos. The human rights lawyer was famously part of the legal team that defended Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu at the Rivonia Treason Trial from 1963-64. Courtesy #DStv403 pic.twitter.com/RXeCOidWAG
— eNCA (@eNCA) September 9, 2020
A prominent anti-apartheid campaigner, Bizos practised as a lawyer into his late eighties.
One of his last major trials secured government payouts in 2014 for families of 34 miners shot dead by police at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg, two years earlier.
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