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S Africa court jails Nigerian over bombings

Henry Okah sentenced to 24 years in jail after being found guilty of 13 terrorism charges.

Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 11:50
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Henry Okah has denied any involvement, claiming the charges against him were politically motivated [Reuters]

A South African court jailed Nigerian national Henry Okah for 24 years after he was convicted of 13 terrorism charges over twin bombings in Abuja in 2010.

"Effectively, the accused Okah is therefore sentenced to 24 years imprisonment," said Judge Neels Claassen on Tuesday.

The charges were 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.

The second bombing took place in Warri on March 15, 2010 at a post amnesty dialogue meeting. One person was killed and 11 seriously injured.

In both bombings, two car bombs went off minutes apart in both places. The cars were parked in close proximity to each other.

Claassen sentenced Okah to 12 years imprisonment for each of the bombings and 13 years for the threats made to the South African government after his arrest in October 2010.

The 13 years would run concurrently with the 24 years.

In January, during judgment Claassen said the State had proved Okah's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and his failure to testify meant the evidence against him remained uncontested.

Okah has denied any involvement, claiming the charges against him were politically motivated.

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