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South African judge dismisses Zuma's bid to appeal prosecutor ruling

FILE PHOTO: Former South African President Jacob Zuma enters the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, January 31, 2022. Jerome Delay/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

A South African judge on Wednesday dismissed a bid by former president Jacob Zuma to appeal an earlier ruling rejecting his attempt to have the prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial taken off the case for alleged bias.

The judgment means Zuma's trial will move forward on April 11.

"The application for leave to appeal and all related applications ... are all dismissed," Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koen said in court. "The criminal trial shall proceed," he added.

Zuma, ousted as head of state in 2018 after nine years in power, has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in a long-running case over a $2 billion arms deal in the 1990s.

Zuma has claimed he is the victim of a political witch-hunt.

In a separate matter last year, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for defying an order to participate in a corruption inquiry. He was released on medical parole, but a court later ruled he should return to jail. Zuma has appealed that ruling.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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