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Former INTERPOL chief files leave to appeal conviction and sentence

Former INTERPOL [official website] president and South African police chief Jackie Selebi [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday filed for leave to appeal his sentence and conviction. A spokesperson for the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] confirmed that they received his application [AFP report] and that they would be opposing the appeal. Selebi was sentenced earlier this month to 15 years in prison after being convicted of corruption [JURIST reports] in July for receiving $170,000 in bribes from convicted drug smuggler Glenn Agliotti [Mail & Guardian profile], who was suspected of killing South African mining magnate Brett Kebble. Selebi is claiming that he did not receive a fair trial [Mail & Guardian report] and that the court erred in finding that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He is also appealing his sentence, arguing that there were compelling circumstances warranting a lesser sentence. Selebi remains free on bail pending the appeal.

Selebi pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at the beginning of his trial in October, claiming that the charges against him were fabricated in retaliation for his corruption investigation of two members of the NPA. The court rejected Selebi's defense of a conspiracy against him and found him guilty of granting favors to Agliotti in exchange for money and gifts totaling USD $156,000. Selebi was suspended from his police post and forced to resign as INTERPOL president after the NPA announced the impending charges [JURIST reports]. The NPA has alleged that Selebi ignored Agliotti's drug trafficking and warned Agliotti that he had been identified in a murder investigation.

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