Organ harvesting: Ekweremadu, wife risk life term sentence in UK
These are obviously not the best of times for the embattled former Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice and daughter, Sonia.
Just yesterday, (Thursday) a United Kingdom court found him and wife guilty of organ trafficking.
The couple were found guilty alongside a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta.
They were convicted for facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
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Meanwhile, Sonia was cleared of the same charge for which her parents and the Nigerian doctor were convicted.
Sonia, who had declined to give evidence, broke into tears as she was cleared by the jury.
She tearfully hugged her father who was remanded into custody with the others ahead of the May 5 sentencing.
Organ harvesting law in UK
The United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 frowns at human trafficking under which organ harvesting falls and is punishable with maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.
The Act partly reads: “Under S. 2, an individual commits an offence if they arrange or facilitate the travel of another with a view to that person being exploited. It is irrelevant whether that person consents to the travel, or whether they are a child or an adult.
“Under S. 3 of MSA 2015, exploitation includes: slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour; sexual exploitation (which involves the commission of an offence under s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Children’s Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children), or Pt 1 of SOA 2003 (eg, rape or sexual assault); removal of organs where a person is encouraged required or expected to do anything which involves the commission of an offence under ss 32 or 33 of the Human Tissue Act 2004 (prohibition of commercial dealings in organs and restrictions on use of live donors); securing services etc by force, threats or deception; securing services etc from children and vulnerable persons (eg, physically or mentally ill or disabled).”
It further stated that anyone found guilty of “human trafficking is liable on summary conviction to 12 months’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine,” adding that “on conviction on indictment, the maximum sentence is life.
Ekweremadu has been in detention since June last year.