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Alleged Organ Harvest: Relief for Ekweremadu as trial date moves to January

Partial relief came the way of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Monday, as the Central Criminal Court in London, the United Kingdom, moved the trial of the former Deputy President of the Senate over alleged conspiracy to traffic a person for organ harvesting from May 2023 to January 31, 2023.

The Old Bailey Court, also scheduled pre-trial arguments to the 16th or 19th of December 2022.

Recall that Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested on June 23 and charged with conspiracy to trafficking a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and his trial was earlier scheduled for May 2023.

While Ekweremadu’s wife was granted bail in July, the lawmaker was denied bail on the grounds that he posed flight risk, a development that has triggered condemnation and protest by concerned Nigerians.

In October, worried Nigerians, under the auspices of Concerned Nigerians for Ekweremadu and Family, staged a protest at the UK High Commission in Abuja over what they described as the lawmaker’s detention without trial.

The group, which submitted a protest letter to the UK Government over what they described as “shabby treatment of Ekweremadu”.

Addressing the press, the group’s National Coordinator, Mr. Paul Sawa, said the planned one-year detention of the Senator till May 2023, when his real trial was scheduled to start, meant he would be behind bar for about a year behind bars from the date of his arrest in June.

They insisted it was injurious to his human right and the principle of assumption of innocence for the accused.

“We are then moved to ask: Where is the humanity in all of this? Where is human right in all of this? Where is the presumption of innocence for the accused? Would Nigerian government subject a UK Member of Parliament to the same shabby treatments and protracted detention on a clearly bailable offence under similar circumstance? More so, if such a UK parliamentarian had written to the Nigeria High Commission to fully disclose the purpose of the organ donor’s trip, including the particular hospital where the case would be handled?” the group had queried.

Although the lawmaker was absent from court on Monday, his wife who was released on bail in July was in court alongside their sick daughter Sonia, who was equally charged, as she was the person that could have benefitted from the organ.

Meanwhile, the Ekweremadus have continued to plead their innocence.

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