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South African prosecutors to appeal invalidation of Zuma charges

[JURIST] The South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] announced Thursday it would appeal [press release, PDF] a Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment invalidating corruption charges [JURIST report] against politician Jacob Zuma [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The NPA stated that the appeal will argue that the "court's interpretation of the Constitution and the NPA Act regarding the obligation to solicit representations before recharging was incorrect." The NPA's appeal will also be based on the impact the judgment has on the "operational process of the NPA." The corruption charges against Zuma were invalidated last Friday on procedural grounds [ruling, PDF text] because Zuma was not given the chance to respond to the allegations against him. Zuma was indicted [JURIST report] in December 2007 on charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. Zuma has said that the charges were part of a politically-motivated effort by outgoing President Thabo Mbeki [official profile] to upset Zuma's plans to run in the 2009 presidential election. Zuma is seen as Mbeki's inevitable successor due to his position as president of the African National Congress (ANC) [party website], the South African ruling party. The New York Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

In late July, the South African Constitutional Court [official website] rejected a motion [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] by Zuma to exclude evidence from the 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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