South African President Jacob Zuma is suing a political cartoonist, the former editor-in-chief of the Johannesburg Sunday Times, and Avusa Media for showing him about to rape a blindfolded woman representing justice. The husband of multiple wives is seeking $730,000 for humiliation, degradation, and damage to his reputation. The cartoon appeared 2 years ago when Zuma was facing corruption charges, which were dropped. It was intended to damage his reputation and dignity, said a statement by Zuma filed in court. It indicated he was abusing the justice system "in as vile, degrading and violent a way as the raping of a woman," the statement added.
Attorneys for the newspaper said they were surprised a suit was filed so long after the cartoon appeared. "I think the president has been badly advised," a lawyer told the Johannesburg Times. "All he and his legal team are going to do is drag this case back into the public eye." The cartoonist, known as Zapiro, said: "I fully stand behind my cartoon and the views expressed in it, and I will not allow the president to intimidate me." Zuma successfully sued the Guardian in London last year for libel after an article referred to him as a rapist. He was acquitted of rape charges in 2006.