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SOUTH AFRICA

South African court rejects ex-president Zuma's bid to appeal bribe trial

South African former president, Jacob Zuma, leaving the Pietermaritzburg courtroom.
South African former president, Jacob Zuma, leaving the Pietermaritzburg courtroom. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

A South African court has dismissed former president Jacob Zuma's attempts to appeal against a corruption trial in which he faces charges related to a 1990s arms deal involving the French company Thales.

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The High Court in the south-eastern city of Pietermaritzburg on Friday ruled that "Mr Zuma's leave to appeal is dismissed".

Zuma filed an appeal last month ahead of the initial 15 October trial date, in a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half.

He is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand (240,000 euros) related to a four-billion-euro arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.

In all, Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to President Thabo Mbeki.

All accused parties deny wrongdoing

Both Zuma and French defence company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.

Thales's application for permission to appeal against the trial was also thrown out at the same time as Zuma's.

Both Zuma and Thales have the option to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court in their push to stop a trial.

The largest South African opposition group, the Democratic Alliance, welcomed the High Court decision saying it looked "forward to seeing this matter finally moving towards conclusion".

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