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Former South African President Jacob Zuma surrenders to police

Former South African President Jacob Zuma surrenders to police
Former South African President Jacob Zuma turned himself into police on Wednesday. Pool photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- Former South African President Jacob Zuma has surrendered to police to begin his 15-month prison sentence that was handed down last month.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation tweeted Wednesday that the former president had decided to voluntarily enter police custody after refusing to do so a day earlier.

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"Dear South Africans and the World. Please be advised that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order," the statement said, adding that he was already en route to the correctional facility in the eastern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Department of Corrections confirmed to The South African that Zuma had arrived at the Estcourt Correctional Center.

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"Mr. Zuma will be taken through all the admission processes as per DCS regulations," said Singabakho Nxumalo, a department spokesman. "Other relevant prescripts pertaining to admitting and orientating newly incarcerated persons will also be followed and executed."

Zuma, 79, turned himself into police custody a day after refusing to do, stating because of his age and the coronavirus outbreak in the country it was essentially a death sentence.

He then filed challenges to the sentence on Tuesday and the Pietermaritzburg High Court, prompting a legal standoff that was brought to an end when he entered the prison.

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The former president was sentenced late last month to 15 months in jail for defying a court order to appear before a corruption inquiry examining scandals that occurred during his nine years in office from 2009 and 2018.

Zuma, an ally of former President Nelson Mandela, was forced out of office and charged with corruption fraud, racketeering and money laundering in connection to an arms deal that occurred in 1999 while he was South Africa's deputy president.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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