April 7, 1998: In South Africa, Zwelakhe Abedingo Luthuli is arrested for the violation of an underage girl. Similo Portia Phahla claims he raped her several times between November 1997 and March 1998. The medical evidence indicates the girl has never had full penile sex, but Mr Luthuli is convicted anyway, and on February 2, 2000 he is given a ten year sentence. His appeal is dismissed by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Pietermaritzburg on September 14, 2000.
In December 2002, the girl recants her testimony, and on December 20, 2004 he is released on a nominal surety. On October 17, 2010, Portia Phala dies, but on October 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of South Africa quashes the rape conviction. There is medical evidence that the alleged victim was beaten by her mother, the inference being that the girl had had sex with her boyfriend, and was too frightened to tell the truth. In all, a very sad tale.
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