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Zuma Hospitalised Ahead Of His Trial For Alleged Corruption

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Zuma Hospitalised Ahead Of His Trial For Alleged Corruption

Jailed former South African President Jacob Zuma has been admitted to hospital for medical observation.

79-year-old Zuma’s hospital admission from prison comes days before he is due to attend the resumption of a long-running corruption trial.

Zuma’s foundation said the admission was for the 79-year-old’s annual routine medical check-up .

Zuma was jailed for contempt of court last month.

“Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including … medical treatment,” the Department of Correctional Services said in a statement on Friday.

No reason was given for the hospitalisation on Friday, apart from that it was prompted by “a routine observation”.

The department added that as a former president, Zuma’s healthcare needs required the involvement of the South African Military Health Service.

Zuma’s foundation, while confirming that he was in hospital, said it was for his annual routine medical check-up.

“No need to be alarmed, … yet,” the foundation said in a Twitter post.

READ ALSO: Property Looted, Burnt In South Africa In Protest Against Jailing Of Zuma

The admission came less than a week before the 79-year-old is due to attend the resumption of a long-running corruption trial.

The August 10 hearing will include a plea to drop 16 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Zuma has pleaded not guilty and maintains he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt by his opponents.

In a separate case, Zuma was handed a 15-month jail sentence in late June for snubbing a commission probing state corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.

He started serving the sentence on July 8 at Estcourt prison, in the east of the country. When Zuma handed himself in, protests by his supporters escalated into riots involving looting and arson that President Cyril Ramaphosa described as an “insurrection”.

Zuma’s legal team had used a range of reasons to turn down invitations to testify, including alleged bias, preparations for the corruption trial and medical concerns.

The former leader travelled to Cuba last year to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness.

Zuma has already been allowed to leave prison for 24 hours to attend his brother’s funeral last month.

 

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20 University Students To Die For Killing Critic Of Bangladesh Govt

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20 University Students To Die For Killing Critic Of Bangladesh Govt

Twenty university students were on Wednesday sentenced to death by a Bangladesh court for the 2019 murder of a young man who criticised the government on social media.

The battered body of Abrar Fahad, 21, was found in his dormitory hours after he wrote a Facebook post slamming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for signing a water-sharing deal with India.

He was beaten with a cricket bat and other blunt objects for six hours by 25 fellow students who were members of the ruling Awami League’s student wing, the Bangladesh Chhatra League.

“I am happy with the verdict,” Fahad’s father Barkat Ullah told reporters outside court after the sentencing. “I hope the punishments will be served soon.”

The remaining five perpetrators were handed life imprisonment.

Chief prosecutor Mohammad Abu Abdullah Bhuiyuan told AFP that the murder was premeditated.

All those given death sentences were between 20 and 22 years old at the time of the murder and attended the elite

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology alongside Fahad.

READ ALSO: Helicopter Carrying Chief Of Defence Staff, Wife Crashes

Three of the defendants are still at large while the rest were in the courtroom.

Faruque Ahmed, a lawyer for the defendants, said the sentence would be appealed.

“I am very disappointed at the verdict. It is not fair,” he told AFP.

“They are young men and some of the best students of the country. They were sentenced to death despite no proper evidence against some of them.”

Fahad had put up a post on Facebook that went viral hours before his death.

In it, he criticised the government for signing an accord that allowed India to take water from a river that lies on the boundary the two countries share.

Fahad had been seen — in leaked CCTV footage that went viral on social media — walking into a dormitory with some BCL activists.

About six hours later, his body was carried out by the students and laid on the ground.

Protests in the days after Fahad’s murder called for the attackers to be harshly punished and for the BCL to be banned.

READ ALSO: Death Toll In Indonesia Volcano Rises To 34

Hasina vowed soon afterwards that the killers would get the “highest punishment”.

The BCL has earned notoriety in recent years after some of its members were accused of killing, violence and extortion.

In 2018, its members allegedly used violence to suppress a major anti-government student protest.

Those rallies were sparked by anger over road safety after a student was killed by a speeding bus.

Death sentences are common in Bangladesh with hundreds of people on death row. All executions are by hanging, a legacy of the British colonial era.

In August, a court sentenced six Islamist extremists to death for the murders of two gay rights activists.

Sixteen people were handed the death penalty in 2019 for burning alive a 19-year-old student who accused her seminary’s head teacher of sexual harassment.

AFP

 

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Helicopter Carrying Chief Of Defence Staff, Wife Crashes

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Helicopter Carrying Chief Of Defence Staff, Wife Crashes

A helicopter carrying India’s foremost military officer, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and his wife crashed near Ooty in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Details of the injured and of any possible casualties are awaited.

Sources told The Indian Express that at least three injured people from the crash have been taken to a nearby hospital, but their identities are not confirmed yet.

According to sources, Rawat’s staff and some family members were also on board in a Mi-series helicopter.

READ ALSO: One Million COVID-19 Vaccines Expire In Nigeria

Rawat is the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff appointed on January 1, 2020. He was appointed the head of the newly created Department of Military Affairs in one of the most significant reorganization in Defence Ministry in decades.

He had served as the Chief of the Army for three years before taking over as the CDS.

 

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Death Toll In Indonesia Volcano Rises To 34

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Death Toll In Indonesia Volcano Rises To 34

Over 34 lives have been lost to the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Semeru volcano.

The mountain on the island of Java had thundered to life on Saturday, ejecting volcanic ash high into the sky and raining hot mud on villages as thousands of panicked people fled their homes.

The disaster swallowed entire homes and vehicles, blanketing villages such as Curah Kobokan in grey ash and leaving residents terrified of returning home.

“I’m traumatised, I asked my relatives if they were brave enough to go back to Curah Kobokan and they all said no, they’d rather sleep under a tree,” said Marzuki Suganda, a 30-year-old who works at a sand mine in the area.

“When the eruption happened, I really thought I was going to die here.”

Rescuers have been battling dangerous conditions since the deadly weekend eruption, searching for survivors and bodies in the volcanic debris, wrecked buildings and destroyed vehicles.

Search crews deployed dogs on Tuesday to aid the operation.

“The latest update from the ground… (is) 34 people died, 17 are missing,” the disaster agency spokesman Abdul Muhari told AFP.

Almost 3,700 have been evacuated from the affected area, he added.

Mt Semeru has remained active since Saturday, keeping emergency workers and area residents on edge.

There were three small eruptions on Tuesday, each spewing ash around a kilometre (3,300 ft) into the sky, authorities said.

READ ALSO: Ambassadors Want Indonesian Envoy To Return Home Over Attack On Nigerian Diplomat

The task for rescuers was made more difficult by the instability of the volcanic debris.

“What we are afraid of is the ground being cold outside but still hot inside,” said police officer Imam Mukson Rido.

“If it’s hot inside, we must get away.”

Officials have advised locals not to travel within five kilometres (3.1 miles) of Semeru’s crater, as the nearby air is highly polluted and could affect vulnerable groups.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said during a trip to the area Tuesday that the government will look into moving homes away because of the threat posed by the volcano.

“I hope after things calm down we can start both fixing infrastructures and think about the possibility of relocation from areas we believe to be dangerous,” he told Indonesia’s Metro TV.

“Earlier I got a report (that) there are around 2,000 houses that must be relocated.”

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity, and the country has nearly 130 active volcanoes.

AFP

 

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