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Subject: Lionel Bernstein, Anti-Apartheid Activist Was Tried With Mandela

Died June 23
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Date Posted: June 28, 2002 2:45:43 EDT

Lionel "Rusty" Bernstein, 82, a white anti-apartheid activist who stood trial for sabotage along with former South African President Nelson Mandela, died Sunday in Oxford, England, of a heart attack.

The onetime head of South Africa's Communist Party, Bernstein was one of 16 activists, including Mandela, who were charged in 1963 with sabotage and the attempted overthrow of the South African government. The accused in what came to be known as the Rivonia Trial used the courtroom to put the apartheid nation on trial.

Bernstein spent a year of the trial in prison and was later acquitted. The other defendants were sentenced to life or lengthy prison terms. An architect by profession, Bernstein eventually distanced himself from the Communist Party and moved with his family to England after learning that South African security police planned to arrest his wife.

His story was later told in the book "Rivonia's Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa."

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