September 19 (THEWILL) – South Africa’s highest court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma failed in his attempt to overturn his 15-month prison sentence for failing to participate in a corruption investigation.
The sentence was handed down in June after Zuma failed to testify in an investigation into corruption during his nine-year reign, seen as a test of post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to do so. respect the rule of law, especially against powerful politicians.
Zuma, recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness, asked the court in July to overturn his sentence for contempt on the grounds that it was excessive and that the prison would endanger his health and his life. In a majority decision on Friday, the Constitutional Court rejected his arguments.
“The application to quash is dismissed,” Judge Sisi Khampepe said as she read the majority decision, which included an order ordering Zuma to pay costs.
This is the latest legal setback for the 79-year-old anti-apartheid veteran of the ruling African National Congress, whose presidency between 2009 and 2018 was marred by numerous allegations of corruption and embezzlement. He denies any wrongdoing.
“Obviously, the foundation is disappointed with this judgment,” said Mzwanele Manyi, spokesperson for the JG Zuma Foundation, in response.
Zuma’s jail on July 7, after handing himself over to police at the last minute, led to violent riots, looting and vandalism in South Africa, killing over 300 people and costing businesses billions of dollars. South African rand.
Russian election: smart opposition app removed at start of voting
A smart voting app designed by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was pulled from Apple and Google stores the day Russians started voting in parliamentary elections.
Russian authorities had threatened to fine the two companies if they refused to remove the app, warning users who could overthrow ruling party candidates. Parliamentary and local elections began on Friday and will last for three days.
President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party is expected to win. Although a total of 14 parties participate in the vote, many candidates considered anti-Putin are banned from running, including anyone associated with Navalny’s opposition movement. Some prominent Kremlin opponents have been forced to leave Russia.
Voters elect 450 deputies for the Duma (parliament) in Moscow and a number of cities have introduced electronic voting. For the first time since 1993, election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will not be present due to “limitations” imposed by the Russian authorities.
On Friday, the Smart Voting app was not available for download from Google and Apple stores in Russia. On the eve of the elections, senior communications regulator officials threatened heavy fines against any company that “systematically violates” its demands. IT companies had been warned that refusing to remove the app would be considered unlawful interference with voting.
On Thursday evening, Google Docs went down in some regions and the Smart Voting-bot on the Telegram platform was the subject of a powerful attack aimed at taking it offline.
Representatives of Google and Apple met with a committee of the Council of the Russian Federation (upper house of parliament) on Thursday.
Navalny’s ally Ivan Zhdanov said the two companies were making a big mistake.
He linked to a statement from Apple which explained that the Smart Voting app had been removed because it was illegal in Russia and that Navalny’s anti-corruption organization FBK had been designated as extremist.
Russia’s communications watchdog blocked the Smart Voting website earlier this month, and a Moscow court banned search engines from mentioning it.
So far, relatively low fines have been imposed on non-Russian tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook, for failing to remove content deemed illegal by the Russian government. But the media watchdog has now threatened to target their revenue as well.
Last March, the media watchdog said it was slowing the speed of Twitter because it failed to delete 3,000 posts relating to suicide, drugs and pornography.
Big social media companies have also been threatened with fines if they don’t remove posts urging young people to protest.