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Zuma ex-associate appeals corruption conviction to South Africa high court

[JURIST] Lawyers for a business associate of former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [party profile] filed an appeal Monday with the South African Constitutional Court [official website] asking that the corruption conviction [JURIST report] of Schabir Shaik be overturned. Shaik was convicted of paying Zuma for political favors in a case which has left Zuma's name tarnished as a potential presidential candidate. The South African Supreme Court of Appeals [official website] last month upheld the conviction [JURIST report], finding that enough evidence existed to support the case and the 15-year jail term handed down to Shaik. His lawyers missed the December 15 deadline [SABC report] to file an appeal, but a court official said that Monday's filing included an explanation for missing the deadline.

South African President Thabo Mbeki [BBC profile] fired Zuma [JURIST report] from his position last year after Shaik was initially found guilty. Zuma has indicated repeatedly that he intends to run against Mbeki in the 2009 presidential election. In June, the African National Congress [party website] reinstated Zuma to his deputy president position within the party after he was acquitted on rape charges [JURIST reports]. In September, a high court judge tossed the corruption charges brought against Zuma himself [JURIST report], saying prosecutors had failed to follow proper procedures, though the charges may be brought again in the future. Reuters has more. SABC News has local coverage.

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