South Africa: Top court upholds ex-president's jail sentence

South Africa Zuma Parole

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's highest court on Friday denied an application by former president Jacob Zuma to rescind his sentence of 15 months in jail for contempt of court in a ruling viewed as a stern test of the country's resolve to hold powerful figures to account.

The Constitutional Court judgment upheld its own ruling that Zuma should go to prison for refusing to testify at a commission of inquiry into widespread corruption in government and at state-owned companies while he was president of South Africa from 2009-2018.

Zuma, who was forced to resign as president in 2018 amid corruption allegations, still has significant support in parts of South Africa and within the ruling African National Congress party.

He was jailed in July after a long-running dispute with the judicial commission of inquiry, which saw him walk out midway through testimony and refuse to appear again.

The 79-year-old Zuma has since been granted medical parole for an undisclosed illness after serving two months of his sentence. His release from prison has been questioned by opposition parties who say procedure wasn't followed.