Nobel winners join battle to stop South African judge landing top job

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three women Nobel laureates have joined South African social justice groups in urging president Jacob Zuma not to appoint Mogoeng Mogoeng as the country’s chief justice.

Critics in South Africa say he is an apologist for rapists in a country with the world’s highest incidence of sexual assault.

“Many of his rulings have undermined the severity of the crime of rape and its consequences for victims and invoke dangerous myths about rape that often blame the victims themselves and excuse perpetrators of egregious crimes,” said Nobel Peace Prize winners Mairead Maguire of Ireland, Jody Williams of the United States and Shirin Ebadi of Iran in a statement yesterday.

In 2001, Mr Mogoeng quashed a two-year jail term for a man who tied his girlfriend to the back of his car and dragged her for 50 metres along a dirt road. The judge said the man had been “provoked” and fined him £370. In 2004, he reduced the sentence of a man found guilty of raping his eight months’ pregnant wife in the presence of another person, arguing it was “not serious”.