S. African sues after arrest for giving president the finger

8th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A South African man is suing the police after being arrested for allegedly raising his middle finger and swearing as President Jacob Zuma's motorcade passed, a local newspaper said Sunday.

Chumani Maxwele is claiming 1.45 million rand ($215,000, 150,000 euros) for wrongful arrest, assault, violation of privacy, defamation and injury to his reputation after police arrested him for allegedly making the obscene gesture at Zuma's convoy in February last year, The Sunday Independent reported.

Maxwele, who denies gesturing or swearing at the motorcade, says he was jogging in the Cape Town neighbourhood of Walmer Estate when police stopped him, tied his hands behind his back, put a bag over his head and took him to a police station.

He claims they also searched his home illegally and embarrassed him by questioning his supervisor.

The 26-year-old was a sociology researcher at the University of Cape Town at the time.

No charges were ever brought against him.

Police acknowledged in court papers that they had tied Maxwele's hands behind his back with cables and placed a "rifle bag" over his head, but said the cables were for his own safety and the bag to prevent him seeing the route to the president's official Cape Town residence, the newspaper reported.

A court date has not yet been set for the lawsuit.

© 2011 AFP

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