Famous Jailed Dissidents
Political Prisoners

Nelson Mandela

After joining the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 and taking part in resistance against the largely white, ethnic-Afrikaner National Party's apartheid policies, Nelson Mandela eventually went on trial in what became known as the marathon Treason Trial of 1956-1961 (in which all defendants would eventually be acquitted). With the ANC banned, in 1961 he co-founded its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) but was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment with hard labor. In 1964 the sentence was furthered to life imprisonment for his allegedly plotting to violently overthrow the government. Until 1982, Mandela was kept at the infamous Robben Island prison, off Cape Town, before moving to Pollsmoor prison on the mainland.

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