On June 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress were sentenced to life in prison for sabotage against the state. While Mandela’s attorney said that the “accused represent the struggle of their people for equal rights”, the judge remained unfazed.
Responding to the court’s decision to condemn Mandela and his cohorts to life behind bars, Mandela invoked the following defense: “I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.”
In 1990, Mandela was released from prison, and went on to serve as the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.