28th February, 2013
A South African court on Thursday was forced to delay the sentencing of Nigerian national Henry Okah, convicted of 13 terrorism charges, after he sacked his lawyers.
Okah was last month found guilty of masterminding the 2010 independence day twin car bombings in Abuja that killed 12 people. He will now be sentenced on March 18.
The High Court was to have handed down the sentence on Thursday when Okah suddenly fired his lawyers, prosecutor Shaun Abrahams told AFP, dismissing the move as a stalling tactic.
“This is an elaborate and deliberate plan by the accused to frustrate the adminstration of justice,” said Abrahams.
The court said this latest postponement would be the final one, he added.
“The court has said even if he dismisses his new lawyers, the court will not grant him a further adjournment and will proceed with sentencing on March 18,” the prosecutor said.
Okah, 46, who has permanent residency in South Africa, faces life in prison.
He was also found guilty of terrorism charges related to two explosions in March 2010 in the southern Nigerian city of Warri, a major hub of the oil-rich Delta region.
Okah has denied involvement in any of the blasts, claiming the charges against him are politically motivated.