US & Canada

John Doar, US civil rights lawyer, dies aged 92

Image copyright AP
Image caption John Doar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012

John Doar, a civil rights lawyer who was a key figure in the struggle against racial segregation in the US, has died aged 92.

Mr Doar dealt with some of the most prominent civil rights cases of the 1960s.

In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, calling him "one of the bravest American lawyers of his or any era".

US media report that he died at his home in Manhattan from heart failure.

Mr Doar played a key role in protecting the rights of black Americans who faced obstacles at the voting booth and in academia.

He escorted James Meredith, the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi, on to campus despite violent riots against racial integration which ended in two deaths.

Mr Doar was also the lead prosecutor at a trial arising from the deaths of three civil rights workers who were shot dead in 1964.

In a statement on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder, called Mr Doar a "giant in the history of the rights movement''.

Mr Doar also played a lead role in the investigation of the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s which ultimately led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

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