Jacob Zuma responds to prison sentencing in South Africa
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Extraordinary scenes unfolded on Sunday as hundreds of armed supporters of corrupt ex-President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, assembled outside his home in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa. The former president gave a speech to onlookers as he refused to be sent to prison following an investigation into rampant corruption during his time as president. His defiant words were followed by celebratory gunfire. It comes as the constitutional court sentenced Zuma on Tuesday to a 15-month jail term for contempt of court for failing to appear at a hearing in February of the inquiry into his activities. But on Saturday it agreed to hear his challenge to the jail term, suspending it until after a hearing on 12 July.
He told a press conference on Sunday: “There is no need for me to go to jail today.
“Because we are now engaging with the constitutional court.
“Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic at my age is the same as sentencing me to death!”
He went on to brand his arrest and imprisonment as “political persecution” by “lawless judges”.
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The corrupt ex-president added: “It is my own unstable state of health and that it is my physical life that the incarceration order threatens.
He added how the jury and judges “lambasted [me] with a punitive jail sentence without trial.
“It cannot be that there are Zuma laws in South Africa.
“Only Jacob Zuma is told that normal procedures are not applicable!”
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Mr Zuma said: “I fought and went to prison so there must be justice and the rule of law.
“No honest person can accuse me of being against the rule of law.
“The fact that I was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial should engender shock in all those who believe in freedom and the rule of law.”
In his desperate defence he branded how “South Africa is fast sliding back to apartheid rule”.
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As president, Mr Zuma was wrapped up in a web of sleaze and scandal between 2009 and 2018.
He was forced to quit and hand over power to current President Cyril to Ramaphosa in 2018 as pressure mounted over allegations and inquiries that he helped plunder South Africa’s fortunes.
The Zondo commission, which is examining the allegations, uncovered how Mr Zuma allowed the Indian-born billionare brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta to steal state resources and gain influence over government policy. The brothers fled to Dubai after Zuma was kicked out – all deny any wrongdoing.
Mr Zuma also faces a separate court case involving a $2bn arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president which he denies involvement in.
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