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Okah wants to call witnesses

Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah wants to call five people as character witnesses.

Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah will have to convince the South Gauteng High Court on Friday they have the witnesses available to support their call for a lighter sentence.

Okah has been convicted on 13 terrorism related charges after setting off twin car bombs in Nigeria in 2010 which killed 12 people.

The blasts happened during Nigeria's Independence Day celebrations.

Henry Okah's Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the tragedy and also for the explosions in Warri earlier in March, 2010.

Okah's sentencing was meant to start on Thursday, but his defence asked for a month's postponement to call witnesses in from the Niger Delta.

These five witnesses would testify in a bid to shorten Okah's expected sentence.

They include a Nigerian traditional leader, who would speak on Okah's character.

But Judge Neels Claassen said the defence will have to prove the witnesses were available and this attempt was not simply a stalling tactic.

Okah told the media in court he would appeal his conviction.

"I don't have a choice. I have to appeal and hope that I'll get some justice."

If the month long postponement is not granted, Okah's defence will have to continue without the five witnesses.