(VitalNews.org) – London police arrested Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, returning to Heathrow airport from another country in June 2022. They charged the couple with trafficking a 21-year-old Nigerian man to harvest his kidney for their daughter, Sonia, 25. Police later arrested and charged the daughter and a physician, Dr. Obinna Obeta, as part of the conspiracy. The trial began on Tuesday, January 31, for the foreign senator and his alleged accomplices.
Ike and Beatrice Ekweremadu appeared in court at the Old Bailey. Their daughter, Sonia, was absent from the proceedings. Her lawyer explained the young woman was ill in the hospital and receiving dialysis. Despite that, the judge asked whether she could attend court the next afternoon, and her attorney answered she could.
Nigerian senator in UK court accused of organ harvestinghttps://t.co/HNIwuGi7Ej
— eNCA (@eNCA) January 31, 2023
The Ekweremadus and their doctor stand accused of a conspiracy to lure the young Nigerian man to London for the sole purpose of harvesting one of his kidneys for transplant to Sonia Ekweremadu, who suffers from advanced kidney disease. The couple allegedly smuggled the victim into the country in August 2021 and held him in their custody until May 2022.
During preliminary testing, the victim notified healthcare professionals that he was an unwilling donor. Hospital personnel contacted the authorities. It’s unclear whether he initially realized why the Ekweremadus had invited him to London.
Police arrested Ike and Beatrice Ekweremadu at Heathrow in June after returning from Turkey to arrange to find a donor for their daughter after the Nigerian donor became unavailable to them. Ike Ekweremadu has remained in custody while the courts allowed Beatrice and Sonia Ekweremadu to remain free on provisional bail.
Sonia Ekweremadu has denied having any role in the plot and pleaded not guilty to all charges in a January 13 hearing. Her legal team submitted a psychological assessment to the court on Tuesday, claiming the young woman is unfit to stand trial. The court stood adjourned while prosecutors examined the report.
The judge expected to resume the trial on the following day. Observers suggest the trial may last up to seven weeks.
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