Ex-South African president Zuma appeals again in his corruption trial

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma went on trial Monday after filing a new appeal in his corruption trial, which began last May with numerous postponements and delays.
The 79-year-old former head of state is accused of taking bribes from the French defense group Thales in a case that dates back more than 20 years. He is charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering. Thales is also charged with bribery and money laundering.
The trial is scheduled to resume on April 11.
In October, the court rejected the former head of state’s request that the attorney general, Billy Downer, be dismissed. Mr. Zuma accused him of being biased and of leaking elements of the case to the press.
In the court of Pietermaritzburg (south-east), Jacob Zuma asked Monday to be able to appeal this rejection. According to defense lawyer Dali Mpofu, the former president is “convinced” that his case is “treated differently” from others.
“If it is a question of law, let the law speak, and let us not have a Zuma law that would be reserved only for him,” said Mpofu at the hearing.
The former president was also sentenced to 15 months in prison for stubbornly refusing to appear before a commission investigating state corruption under his presidency (2009-2018).
His imprisonment in July triggered an unprecedented wave of violence and looting in South Africa. He was released on health grounds two months into his sentence.