Okah's Attorney, MEND Dismiss S'African Foiled Jail Break Story As Mere Propaganda
SAN FRANCISCO, February 11, (THEWILL) - Controversy is trailing the claims of the South African foiled jail break involving Nigerian terror suspect, Henry Okah , as his South Africa-based attorney, Idemudia Uriesi, as well as the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) have described the report attributed to the South African Department of Correctional Services as false.
Okah, who is serving a 24-years custodial sentence, is currently being holed up at the Newlock Prison, Pretoria, South Africa, having been found guilty by South Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) on charges of international terrorism on March 26, 2013 .
Denying the report of a failed jailbreak by his client, Okah's lawyer described the statement by the South African Department of Correctional Services as a fabrications and tissues of lies ahead of Okah's appeal at the South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal in March.
MEND on its part said the report was a "last ditch" petty propaganda and desperate deed by the South African and Nigerian Governments to scuttle Henry Okah's likely victory from the South African Appellate Court.
Okah who was tried and convicted in South Africa where he resides is expected to appear in court in March in furtherance of his appeal case.
MEND's spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, in a statement Tuesday said Okah whom the outlawed group described as a 'Political Prisoner' couldn't have "connived to escape with common-law prisoners who have nothing to lose.
" MEND said :"Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the South African Department of Correctional Services of an 'attempted jailbreak' by Mr.
"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) views this petty propaganda as a last ditch and desperate deed by the South African and Nigerian Governments to scuttle Henry Okah's likely victory from the South African Appellate Court coming up anytime in the month of March, 2014 and an outrageous lie .
"No right thinking person would believe that the 'Political Prisoner' who was recently granted a leave to appeal his conviction and has a pending lawsuit against the South African Prison Service would connive to escape with common-law prisoners who have nothing to lose .
"Henry Okah not only shunned a plea bargain offered by the prosecution for his freedom but opted to go ahead with his trial to clear his name.
"He is ready to proceed to the South African Constitutional Court to test the South African Judicial system against an obvious setup.
"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) continues to back Mr.
Henry Okah's innocence over the attacks he has been blamed for.
Meanwhile, Okah's attorney , Uriesi, has denied the involvement of his client in the reported jailbreak.
In a statement emailed to THEWILL, Uriesi said all allegations, insinuations and/or rumour of escape or attempted escape by our client from prisons custody are fabrications.
"They have no basis in truth or facts, are totally false and consequently denied", he said Maintaining that Okah's current pre-occupation is his appeal hearing and his other "prisoner's rights", the attorney said Okah is not contemplating becoming a fugitive or attaining his freedom by other unlawful means.
Uriesi however expressed confidence in the correctness of Okah's legal position regarding his appeal against conviction and sentence on the charges, saying "we have no doubt his appeal will be successful.
" Uriesi said in the statement that Okah won the leave to appeal both conviction and sentence on November 28, 2013, a process he is currently preparing for and soon to be heard at the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa.