Sunday, June 19, 2011

Okah loses third bail attempt

Times Lives (SAPA)
18 June 2011

Henry Okah, alleged leader of a Nigerian rebel group, has lost his third attempt at bail after additional charges were being brought against him, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Saturday.

Okah's previous bids on October 14 and 19 at Johannesburg Magistrate's Court had both been denied.

"The South Gauteng High Court dismissed his application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday. His only option is to actually petition the Supreme Court of Appeal and we are still confident that he won't succeed even if he explores that legal avenue," NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.

Okah was arrested in Johannesburg the day after the twin car bombing in Abuja, Nigeria, in October, in which 12 people died and 36 were injured.

He was allegedly the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) group that had claimed responsibility for attack.

Okah was charged with engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

The additional charges of terrorism and terror financing were in connection with the March 15 bombing in Warri, Nigeria last year.

Mhaga had previously said that South Africa had extra-territorial jurisdiction which allowed it to try any person, who was found or based in South Africa, even if the offence was committed outside the borders of the country.

Okah has denied being involved with the group, though a letter by his wife referred to him as being the leader of Mend.

His case was postponed to June 21.

He is currently being held at Johannesburg Prison.

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