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Zuma handed himself over to start a 15-month prison sentence this month for failing to appear at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power until 2018–a separate case to the current trial.

Following his imprisonment, protests flared up in his home province KwaZulu-Natal which escalated into rampant looting, arson and riots, and spread to Gauteng province. More than 200 people were killed.

Zuma faces multiple charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering over a $2 billion arms deal involving French company Thales (then known as Thomson-CSF), when Zuma was deputy president.

Zuma and Thales both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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