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CIA Operative Admits to Jailing Nelson Mandela

A former CIA operative has confessed to having a hand in the arrest of Nelson Mandela.

Donald Rickard revealed his key role in the arrest that led to the future South African president’s imprisonment for 27 years during an interview shortly before he died.

BBC reports the disclosure led to a demand for the CIA to come clean about putting one of the world’s most revered statesmen behind bars.

Mandela was jailed for resisting white minority rule in 1962 and released in 1990.

A longtime political associate called it a “shameful act of betrayal” that “hindered the struggle against apartheid.”

Rickard died earlier this year. He was never formally associated with the CIA, but worked as a diplomat before retiring in the 1970s.

Not much has been known about the events leading up to Mandela’s arrest. At the time of his detainment, he was the leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), and was considered a terrorist and a threat to the West.

For years, rumors of the CIA’s involvement in Mandela’s arrest have circulated, but the agency resisted attempts to shed light on its alleged involvement in his arrest.

Mandela, who served as South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999, was on a US terror watch list until 2008.