Ekweremadu, wife, risk 10-year jail term in UK for organ harvesting

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*Ekweremadu and wife, Beatrice

After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, Nigeria’s former deputy senate president, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice and their doctor, Obinna Obeta have been convicted of organ trafficking.

The jury said Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Obeta, 51, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a 21-year-old young man to Britain for the purpose of organ harvesting.

The young man, a trader from Lagos, was to be rewarded for donating a kidney to Sonia in an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Justice Jeremy Johnson handed down a guilty verdict on the trio yesterday in London at the end of the six-week trial.

Following the guilty verdict, Ekweremadu and his wife were remanded in custody and await sentencing on May 5.

However, Sonia was cleared.

Recall that the Metropolitan Police had in 2022 arrested Ekweremadu and his wife for luring a young man from Nigeria to the UK for exploitation.

The verdict is said to be a first of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 of the United Kingdom.

Under Section 2 Subsection 1 of the Act, a person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.

Subsection 2 states that it is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).

In Section 2 Subsection 7, the law stated that “a person who is not a UK national commits an offence under this section if any part of the arranging or facilitating takes place in the United Kingdom, or the travel consists of arrival in or entry into, departure from, or travel within, the United Kingdom.”

The penalties under the Act stated in Section 5 Subsection that a person guilty of an offence under section 1 or 2 is liable, (a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life; (b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.

In Section 5 Subsection 2, a person guilty of an offence under Section 4 is liable (unless Subsection 3 applies), (a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years; (b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.

Subsection 3 states that where the offence under Section 4 is committed by kidnapping or false imprisonment, a person guilty of that offence is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

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