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The Treason Trial
The Congress of Democrats
The People accused
A Galllery

DECEMBER 1956-1961

For some time there had always been a question in peoples' minds as to why the government had allowed the Congress of the People in 1955, to take place. In 1956 their question was answered when 156 Congress leaders were arrested and put on trial for high treason. The swoop came in the early hours of the morning of 5 December and was executed with military precision. Surrounded by elaborate security precautions, those arrested were driven or flown in military aircraft to Johannesburg, where they were imprisoned in the Fort Prison. One unplanned consequence of the mass arrests was the opportunity they gave to the resistance leaders (who had been confined in two large adjoining cells) to meet openly and uninhibited, a situation which the government had been at pains to prohibit for several years. As Chief Luthuli recalled, "What distance other occupations, lack of funds, and police interference had made difficult - frequent meetings - the government had now insisted on." ...... READ MORE