Tang Prize laureate Albie Sachs arrives in Taiwan for 5-day visit(Focus Taiwan)

  • Albie Sachs, 2014 Tang Prize laureate in Rule of Law
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Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Albie Sachs, a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and winner of the first Tang Prize in Rule of Law, flew to Taiwan Tuesday for a five-day visit, during which he will deliver a speech on transitional justice.

Sachs was met by Tang Prize Foundation CEO Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川) at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

During his stay, the 79-year-old will give a keynote speech April 29 at National Central University on transitional justice and how South Africa began its path toward democracy.

In celebrating its centennial anniversary, the university screened a documentary on its campus Tuesday titled "Soft Vengeance -- Albie Sachs and the New South Africa," which feature Sachs' life and influential work.

The film, shot by Abby Ginzberg, won a Peabody Award last week.

Sachs will also attend a conference organized by the Taipei Bar Association May 1 for discussions on the highly controversial issue of whether or not the death penalty should be abolished.

Later that day, Sachs will meet with high school students in Taipei, with whom he will share his life story.

The reputed freedom fighter will leave Taiwan May 2. Before departing, he is scheduled to attend a book launch in Taipei. The book talks about the stories of all five 2014 Tang Prize winners.

Sachs joined the anti-apartheid movement at the age of 17. After gaining his law degree at 21, he defended people charged under repressive apartheid laws and as a result, was imprisoned and tortured.

In 1988, South African security agents planted a bomb in his car that blew off his right arm and blinded him in one eye, a story recounted in his autobiography titled "The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter."

"To get freedom was a much more powerful vengeance than subjecting the people who had done these things to us to the same harm," Sachs wrote in the book.

Sachs returned to his homeland in 1990, where he played a key role in drafting South Africa's new Constitution and Bill of Rights. During his tenure as a judge, the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty, overturned anti-homosexuality laws and legalized same-sex marriage.

The biennial Tang Prize was established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin to honor top researchers and leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.

(By Bien Ching-feng and Elizabeth Hsu)