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Albie Sachs Profile

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  Albie Sachs

Albie Sachs began a lifetime of human rights activism as a 17-year-old law student at the University of Cape Town, when he first took part in a civil disobedience campaign against apartheid. As a young attorney, he defended others charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. After two spells of solitary confinement without trial, he fled the country.

He spent the next 22 years in exile in the United Kingdom and Mozambique. In 1988, a car bomb planted by South African agents cost him an arm and the sight in one eye. He devoted the next years to preparing a new democratic constitution for South Africa. After South Africa's democratic elections of 1994, President Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs to serve as a Justice on the newly established Constitutional Court.

Justice Sachs wrote the court's unanimous opinion in the landmark 2005 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in South Africa. Between sessions, he travels the world, sharing the South African experience of healing a divided society.

This page last revised on Aug 17, 2009 16:27 EDT
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