Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his family members appeared at the Old Bailey court in London on Tuesday, January 31st, 2023, for a hearing regarding their trial for alleged organ harvesting.
The defendants, including Ekweremadu’s wife, Beatrice, daughter, Sonia, and a doctor, are accused of arranging the travel of a 21-year-old man from Nigeria with the intent to exploit him for his kidney.
Ekweremadu, who is still serving as a senator for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu, appeared in court wearing a grey tracksuit top.
He confirmed his identity by saying “Yes, miss” when prompted by the court. On the other hand, Sonia was unable to attend the hearing due to her hospitalization for an unspecified condition.
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The man at the center of the allegations raised the alarm after he refused to consent to the kidney removal procedure following preliminary tests at a north London hospital.
The defendants allegedly planned to give the removed kidney to Sonia. After the man went to the police, charges were brought against the Ekweremadus and the doctor, who were arrested in June 2022 at London’s Heathrow airport.
The defendants are accused of conspiracy to arrange the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, which is an offense under the UK legislation on modern slavery. The alleged offense took place between August 2021 and May 2022.
Ike Ekweremadu’s bail plea was rejected due to concerns that he might flee the UK. Obinna Obeta, the 50-year-old doctor from south London, was also detained. Beatrice and Sonia Ekweremadu were granted conditional bail.
At the hearing, Beatrice was dressed all in black and sat next to her husband in the dock.
The court adjourned soon after convening to allow prosecutors to read a psychological report submitted by Sonia’s defence team, claiming she was not fit to stand trial.