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Mbeki seeks to join prosecution appeal in Zuma case

[JURIST] Former South African President Thabo Mbeki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Friday asked to be joined as amicus curiae to an appeal by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] challenging the dismissal of all fraud and corruption charges against Jacob Zuma [BBC news profile; JURIST news archive], head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) [party website]. The South African Constitutional Court [official website] refused [JURIST report] Wednesday to hear Mbeki's appeal. Mbeki had announced earlier Friday that he would appeal this decision to the South African Supreme Court. Charges against Zuma were dismissed because there was evidence of political interference in the decision by the NPA to bring the charges against Zuma. Mbeki contends that that decision violates his constitutional rights because it assumed he was guilty of interfering with an investigation without affording him a hearing on the allegation. From South Africa, the Citizen has more. The Mail and Guardian has additional local coverage.

Zuma defeated Mbeki for the ANC leadership in party elections held in December 2007. He was ousted [JURIST report] as the country’s deputy president in 2005 after an aide was convicted of corruption. He was also charged with rape, but ultimately acquitted and reinstated [JURIST report] as ANC deputy vice president. In late July, the South African Constitutional Court 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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