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Bram Fischer

  • African lawyer
  • Born April 23, 1908
  • Died May 8, 1975

Abraham Louis Fischer, commonly known as Bram Fischer, (23 April 1908 Bloemfontein – 8 May 1975 Bloemfontein) was a South African lawyer of Afrikaner descent, notable for anti-apartheid activism and for the legal defence of anti-apartheid figures, including Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial. Following the trial he was himself put on trial accused of furthering communism. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and diagnosed with cancer while in prison. The South African Prisons Act was extended to include his brother's house in Bloemfontein where he died two months later.


I engaged upon those activities because I believed that, in the dangerous circumstances which have been created in South Africa, it was my duty to do so.




The glaring injustice is there for all who are not blinded by prejudice to see.




Whatever labels may be attached to the fifteen charges brought against me, they all arise from my having been a member of the Communist Party and from my activities as a member.




If in my fight I can encourage even some people to understand and to abandon policies they now so blindly follow, I shall not regret any punishment I may incur.




When I consider what it was that moved me to join the Communist Party, I have to cast my mind back for more than a quarter of a century to try and ascertain what precisely my motives at that time were.




As there is oppression of the majority such oppression will be fought with increasing hatred.




I wish you to inform the Court that my absence, though deliberate, is not intended in any way to be disrespectful. Nor is it prompted by any fear of the punishment which might be inflicted on me.



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