South Africa’s top court has found ex-president Jacob Zuma “guilty of the crime of contempt of court” over his refusal to answer corruption charges.
He has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, DW reports.
South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled against ex-president Jacob Zuma, 79, Tuesday, citing him for contempt of court prompted by his refusal to answer for corruption charges.
Following his unwillingness to appear before a graft panel, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
“The majority judgement orders an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment for a period,” judge Sisi Khampepe said, adding that “the Constitutional Court can do nothing but conclude that Mr Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court.”
Unanswered charges of corruption
In 2018, Zuma was forced to step down after being forced out by his own party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC), following a series of corruption scandals.
Under immense pressure, Zuma set up the inquiry shortly before he was ousted. In July 2019, he testified only once before walking out of court and accusing the chair of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, of being biased against him.
Since then, Zuma has repeatedly ignored requests to appear in court, citing medical issues and time needed to prepare for a different corruption trial.
In November, he appeared in court briefly but left before he could be questioned. Zondo turned to the Constitutional Court and requested it intervene.
Zuma then refused to participate in contempt of court hearings, addressing an angry letter to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng that described an “atmosphere of judicial hostility” and “humiliation”.