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Sending me to jail during Corona period equals death sentence: Former South African President

Highlights:

  • Former South African President Jacob Zuma now fears death inside prison
  • Zuma said that sending him to jail during the Kovid-19 epidemic is equivalent to the death penalty
  • Outside his house, his supporters formed a human chain, preventing the police from arresting him.

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma is now afraid of going to jail. Zuma said that sending him to jail during the Kovid-19 global pandemic is tantamount to the death penalty. Meanwhile, his supporters formed a human chain outside his house to prevent the police from arresting him. Zuma addressed journalists on Sunday evening from his home in Kandla, KwaZulu-Natal province. Earlier, the country’s top court asked him to hand himself over to the police so that his 15-month prison sentence could be completed.

Zuma said, ‘Sending a man my age to jail during the peak of the global pandemic is tantamount to the death penalty. The death penalty was declared unconstitutional in South Africa in 1995. The Constitutional Court had agreed on Saturday to hear his plea to quash Zuma’s sentence. The former president has cited his age of 79, health reasons and other unspecified reasons to cancel the sentence. The matter will be heard on July 12, until then Zuma will remain out of jail.

‘South Africa rapidly moving towards apartheid rule’
At the press conference, Zuma was seen continuously avoiding the question as to why he was not reprimanding many of his supporters for violating the guidelines of the fourth level of lockdown in the country. Under these guidelines, there is a ban on holding public meetings and wearing of masks is mandatory. Zuma compared the current situation with the era of apartheid. “I am deeply concerned that South Africa is rapidly moving towards a regime like apartheid,” he said. I am facing long custody without any trial. We have a fourth level of lockdown, which includes all the modes of emergency and the curfews of the 1980s. The only difference is that we use different levels like contempt of court instead of detention without trial but the essence is exactly the same.

Zuma said he was not afraid of going to jail. He said, ‘If it was only about me, I would have gone to jail for my principles as before, whether coming out alive or not. But I have never worked as a single person only and hence always take the advice of my family and colleagues. Tension has been witnessed outside Zuma’s house for the past few days, where supporters fired several shots into the air to prevent police from arresting him. He has also threatened violence if Zuma is taken to jail. There is also anger against the police for failing to arrest people who are openly violating the lockdown.

All this is happening at a time when 16,585 new cases of Kovid-19 have been reported in South Africa in a single day and 333 people have died due to this. There is also a lot of anger among the people over the statement of the former president, in which instead of asking his supporters to follow the law, he said that he was forced to do so. African National Congress leader Mvuso Masimang said, “As a leader, it is Zuma’s responsibility to ensure that the laws of the country are followed in the wake of Kovid-19.” It is his responsibility to tell the people, the organizers that such a crowd should not gather. Zuma says that people are agitated and angry so they should be allowed to break the law and get infected. This is a poor leadership.

Zuma sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court
The Supreme Court of South Africa has sentenced the country’s former President Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. He was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court for failing to appear before the commission probing corruption charges during his tenure. Zuma has repeatedly said that instead of cooperating with the commission, he would go to jail. Zuma, 79, is accused of looting government revenue while in office for nearly nine years between 2009 and 2018.

A campaign was launched by the ‘Ahmed Khatrada Foundation’ for Zuma’s removal from office and criminal prosecution. Zuma is the main accused in the corruption of fifty billion rand in which three Gupta brothers… Atul, Ajay and Rajesh are also allegedly involved. It is alleged that the Gupta brothers committed corruption because of their alleged closeness with them. It is also alleged that the Gupta brothers also benefitted two of Zuma’s children, who are living in self-exile in Dubai. The government of South Africa has started the process of his extradition.

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