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South African President Wins Damages from UK Paper

South African President Wins Damages from UK Paper

Published July 30, 2009

LONDON (AP) -- South African President Jacob Zuma won damages Thursday from Britain's The Guardian newspaper over an article that mistakenly claimed he was a rapist.

Zuma sued the paper for libel after it published an article in March claiming Zuma was guilty of rape, corruption and bribery. The South African leader's reputation has been clouded by allegations that he raped an HIV-positive family friend and solicited a bribe in an arms deal, but Zuma was acquitted of the rape charge in a 2006 trial and the corruption charges were dropped amid claims of political interference.

He became South Africa's president in May.

Zuma called the allegations carried in the newspaper "extremely offensive" to him and South Africa's governing party, the African National Congress.

"In this matter, The Guardian newspaper disregarded the basic principles of journalism and media ethics," Zuma said in a statement.

The newspaper already has published an apology, but Zuma's lawyer, Jenny Afia, said it was given far less prominence in the newspaper than the original article.

The newspaper's owners, Guardian News And Media Ltd., have agreed to pay an undisclosed sum and legal costs.

The paper did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Written by Associated Press

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