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South Africa judge refuses to dismiss rape charges against former deputy president

[JURIST] Johannesburg High Court Judge Willem van der Merwe on Wednesday refused to dismiss rape charges [JURIST report] against former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [party profile]. The defense filed a motion for dismissal citing a lack of evidence proving Zuma's guilt in the rape of a longtime family friend and AIDS activist. The judge denied the motion and said the charges against Zuma may be proven later in the trial. The defense is scheduled to present their case on Monday. If convicted, Zuma faces up to 15 years in prison.

Zuma also faces charges in a corruption scandal [JURIST report] for which he will stand trial later this year. He is the current deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC) [party website], and was once considered the successor to South African President Thabo Mbeki [BBC profile], but was ousted from office [JURIST report] as South African deputy president as a result of the corruption scandal. Zuma claims that the charges against him are a plot by his enemies to destroy his political career. Reuters has more.

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