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Former South African President, Jacob Zuma hands himself to police to begin prison sentence

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Former South African President, Jacob Zuma hands himself to police to begin prison sentence

Former South African President Jacob Zuma has handed himself over to prison authorities early Thursday after a week-long standoff with the nation’s highest court that raised fears of violence by his supporters.

Zuma became the first South African leader to go to prison in the 27 years since apartheid ended with the election of Nelson Mandela in the nation’s first fully democratic vote.

South Africa’s Police Ministry confirmed Zuma was in custody just after the midnight deadline for the former president’s arrest.

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Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa, handed 15-month sentence for contempt of court

The Constitutional Court last week ordered Zuma jailed for 15 months for contempt after he refused to appear before a panel investigating corruption during his nine-year presidency.

Zuma, 79, had rejected the court’s sentence, arguing he was innocent and that his age and ill health would mean his likely death in custody.

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Since the Constitutional Court imposed the sentence on June 29, hundreds of Zuma supporters, including former liberation fighters, had gathered outside his compound in rural KwaZulu-Natal province and vowed to defend him.

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