Court: S. Africa official delayed Dalai Lama visa

Associated Press Modified: November 29, 2012 at 9:04 am •  Published: November 29, 2012
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"I accept that the proposed visit raised matters of high diplomatic importance, justifiably calling for consultation, advice and consideration," the judge's ruling reads. "But that begs the question what time was required to complete that process."

However, the judge said he did not find any evidence that officials had plans to deny the visa outright.

Rights groups, academics, opposition parties and newspapers in South Africa had joined Tutu in pressing their government to grant the Dalai Lama a visa. When the leader ultimately couldn't come to South Africa, Tutu blasted the ANC government before reporters, calling it "worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it with the apartheid government."

Dlamini-Zuma resigned her position as minister and later took over as leader of the African Union Commission. She could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday. Jackie Mckay, deputy director general for immigration at the ministry, said Thursday that officials would respect the ruling and further study it.

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Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .