The Central Criminal Court in the United Kingdom (UK) has adjourned the alleged organ harvesting case against the former deputy president of the senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, to October 31st, 2022 for the commencement of a pre-trial.
It has, meanwhile, fixed the trial of the lawmaker and his wife, over their involvement in organ harvesting, an allegation leveled against the couple by a young Nigerian, David Nwamini, who was said to have been coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney for their daughter.
The couple is facing charges at the UK court bordering on conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
Aside from the couple, the country’s police also arraign a medical expert, Obinna Obeta, a third individual, before the London court over his alleged involvement in the organ harvesting alongside the duo.
As learnt, there were indications that the UK police may further arrests more individuals in connection with organ harvesting and drag them before the court for prosecution.
During the brief proceeding on Thursday, Ekweremadu did not appear in flesh as well as Obeta, both suspects appeared before the judge virtually from where they were held.
No application for bail, as learnt, was put to the judge and there were no signs of the lawmaker’s adult children during the trial even after the court had granted the wife bail under strict conditions last month.
Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was arrested at the Heathrow Airport from Turkey in June, in spite of been in possession of a diplomatic passport with questions bordering on whether the case contravened the Vienna Convention and Diplomatic Immunity.
Efforts to get information from the Nigerian High Commission UK proved abortive, but it is expected that the lawmaker should be given immunity to face charges in his country.
It would be recalled that the case began on May 5 when the alleged trafficked victim handed himself to the police authorities on the grounds that he was being coerced into giving his organs despite being under-aged.
However, the case came to the public knowledge on June 23 after Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the Metropolitan Police on arrival into the UK from Turkey.
Prosecutors had said that the couple has a daughter with a kidney-related disease and has been on dialysis for quite some time. The British authorities believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.
Though the alleged victim of trafficking, David Nwamini, claimed he was 15 and was coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney, the Nigerian government provided records to prove that Nwamini was 21 years old, and not a minor.
Temporary respite came for the Ekweremadus as the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the alleged trafficked victim is not a minor. Despite the ruling, the lawmaker still faces charges of conspiring to traffick a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.