Court rejects former South African president's request to delay prison time

Court rejects former South African president's request to delay prison time
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A court in South Africa rejected its former president’s request to delay the 15-month prison sentence he incurred after defying a court order.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled on Friday to reject former President  Jacob Zuma’s application to delay prison time, The Associated Press reported

Zuma turned himself over to the police on Wednesday to start his 15-month prison sentence at  Estcourt Correctional Center.

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He was sentenced to prison after he was found guilty of missing a court date in February in his corruption investigation.

The investigation is looking into illegal contact Zuma allegedly had with three wealthy businessmen while he was president of the country between 2009 and 2018.

Zuma has one more chance to get his sentence appealed by the Constitutional Court on July 12.

"When somebody is saying please hear me out ... and then we have court that says 'OK, we are willing to listen to you', that’s the kind of justice system people died for in this country," the Jacob Zuma Foundation said after the court decided to hear his appeal.

The court agreed to hear Zuma’s challenge to his sentence as he is arguing the prison time is excessive and puts him at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 as an elderly person. 

Although human rights groups have commended the imprisonment of Zuma, the 79-year-old has supporters who oppose his prison time and staged protests on Friday, according to AP.