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Judge issues arrest warrant for ex-South African president

A South African judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for former President Jacob Zuma, shown here at the United Nations in 2016, for failing to appear at a hearing. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
A South African judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for former President Jacob Zuma, shown here at the United Nations in 2016, for failing to appear at a hearing. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A South African judge has issued an arrest warrant for former President Jacob Zuma after he failed to show up in court for a hearing Tuesday.

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay expressed doubt over medical documents Zuma's attorney gave her, expressing concern that Zuma has missed reapeated court appearances.

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"What this court requires is evidence," Pillay said in her ruling. "Some authentic, reliable proof that Mr. Zuma is indeed ill and when he will be available to stand trial."

Prosecutor Billy Downer said the document offered by Zuma's attorneys was not authentic and that it presented nothing official about Zuma's conduction. He suggested that Zuma's skipping the hearing without a valid reason was in itself against the law.

Zuma's attorney Dan Mantsha called Pillay's warrant "grandstanding" and documentation he represented from a military hospital went into detail about his illness. That document failed to satisfy Pillay or Downer.

She suspended the warrant until May 6, Zuma's next hearing date in connection with his ongoing corruption case, promising that the former president will go to jail if he does not appear.

Zuma was forced out as president by the African National Congress in 2018, and he was later charged with multiple counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering in regard to a controversial multibillion-dollar arms deal.

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