Okah’s sentencing continues

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IOL pic mar18 court henry okah Independent Newspapers Sentencing proceedings for Nigerian Henry Okah (pictured) started in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

Johannesburg - Sentencing proceedings for Nigerian Henry Okah, convicted on 13 charges of terrorist activities, were expected to start in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

He was found guilty in January of 13 counts of terrorism, including engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activities, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device.

The charges related to two car bombs in Abuja, Nigeria, in which 12 people were killed and 36 injured on October 1, 2010, the anniversary of the country's independence.

Okah intended calling at least five people from United State and Nigeria to come and testify.

In the last court appearance on February 28, the court was informed that Okah would be represented by a new lawyer, Gerrit Muller SC.

On March 1, The Star reported that Okah's previous lawyer Lucky Maunatlala blamed the South African embassy in Nigeria for the witnesses not being able to get to court. He said the embassy had failed to prepare their visas on time.

Judge Neels Claassen said in his judgement in January that the State had proved Okah's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that his failure to testify meant the evidence against him remained uncontested.

He found no evidence that Okah did not head the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which claimed responsibility for the blasts.

During the trial, Okah denied any involvement in the blasts and said the charges against him were politically motivated. - Sapa

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