South Africa court delays ruling on Zuma corruption charges

[JURIST] A South African judge on Tuesday delayed a ruling on whether to drop corruption charges against politician Jacob Zuma [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] until September 12 in order consider Zuma's argument that he should have been consulted before the charges were filed. In December 2007, South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority [official website] served an indictment [JURIST report] on Zuma, charging him with corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering. Zuma has challenged the charges against him, saying they are part of a politically motivated effort by outgoing President Thabo Mbeki [official profile] to upset his plans to run in the 2009 presidential election. Zuma supporters have long protested the trial and have threatened violence [AP report] if he is convicted, but moderates have said the threats only further impugn [Independent Online report] the judicial system. AP has more. From South Africa, the Times has local coverage.

Last week, the South African Constitutional Court [official website] rejected a motion [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] by Zuma to exclude evidence from his upcoming corruption trial. Zuma had argued [JURIST report] that evidence seized in 2005 raids by the Directorate of Special Investigations [official backgrounder; BBC report] should be thrown out because the raids violated his rights to privacy and a fair trial. The court upheld the validity of the warrants used in the raids, confirming a November 2007 decision [JURIST report] by the South African Supreme Court of Appeal. The court also held [opinion, PDF; summary] that papers obtained by the Mauritius government [JURIST report] believed to document meetings between Zuma and arms manufacturer Thint were also admissible. Zuma has been facing corruption allegations [BBC timeline] and other charges for several years. He was first charged with corruption in 2005, but those charges were later dismissed [JURIST report] because prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures.

 

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