The security chief of former Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha was sentenced to death for the murder of the wife of one of his main political rivals.
Hamza al-Mustapha, whose lawyer said he would appeal, was condemned to hang for the killing of Kudirat Abiola, wife of presidential claimant Moshood Abiola.
Abiola, a democracy campaigner, is widely believed to have won a 1993 poll that was annulled by incumbent president Ibrahim Babangida, shortly before Abacha took power in a coup, Reuters reports.
Mustapha walked out of the court in Lagos smiling and was hugged by supporters waiting outside.
“The judgment was a great surprise, since the prosecution confirmed that one of the witnesses was not reliable … The judgment is regarded as a travesty of justice,” his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, said outside court.
“We have decided … to file a notice of appeal before the close of business tomorrow and notice to stop the execution.”
Abacha died age 54 in the company two Indian prostitutes in 1998. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest.