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Ekweremadu’s trial breaches Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, says rights group

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
03 August 2022   |   3:58 am
A human rights organisation, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), yesterday, faulted the arrest and trial of former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu,..

Ike Ekweremadu

A human rights organisation, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), yesterday, faulted the arrest and trial of former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in the United Kingdom (UK), saying it is a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Ekweremadu has been remanded in prison custody in the UK over allegations of organ harvesting.

In a statement issued in Enugu, the organisation stated that the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations specified the caliber of officials that must not be tried outside their countries, stressing that the trial of Ekweremadu, as a serving Senator, failed to follow international standards and due procedures of officials with diplomatic immunity.

President of CRRAN, Olu Omotayo, in the statement titled, ‘Diplomatic Immunity In International Law,’ stated that the ongoing trial of Ekweremadu indicates that there are “different laws for the Europeans and Africans.”

He said it is disgusting and disgraceful that such trial is taking place in one of the supposed normal climes. He stated that it is wrong for Ekweremadu, a sitting Nigerian Senator, to be arrested in the UK while traveling with a diplomatic passport and thereafter arraigned in court and remanded in prison custody.

He added: “Though there are several instances where African leaders and government officials bearing diplomatic passports were arrested in Europe and clamped into detention, this is a clear breach of international law, which has not been canvassed by the affected leaders, and because of the weakness of African states, the affected countries never asked the detaining European countries what diplomatic immunity entails.

“Wikipedia defines diplomatic immunity as a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, although they may still be expelled.

“It submitted that even in the United States, if a person with immunity is alleged to have committed a crime or faces a civil lawsuit, the Department of State alerts the government that the diplomat works for.

“The Department of State also asks the home country to waive immunity of the alleged offender so that the complaint can be moved to the courts. If immunity is not waived, prosecution cannot be undertaken.”

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