11 April 2013

Nigeria: Firearms - 15 Russian Sailors' Trial Fixed for April 30

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/UN

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed April 30 for hearing in the case of 15 Russian sailors charged with illegal importation of arms and ammunition.

The case, which was slated for hearing, could not go on due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke.

No reason was given for his absence, and consequently, April 30 was fixed for hearing.

The accused are: Zhelyazkov Andrey, Captain; Savchenko Sergel, Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay. Others are: Mishin Pavel, Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail, and Stepan Oleksiuk.

The accused are charged with their vessel, Mv Myre Seadiver, on four counts, bordering on unlawful importation of firearms, as well as non declaration of the content of the vessel.

They had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the last adjourned date, Okeke had released the accused on bail to the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, while the vessel was admitted to bail on a 500,000 dollars bond. The prosecutor, Mr Ernest Eezebilo had told the court that the accused were arrested with their vessel, by naval officers on Oct. 18, 2012, in Lagos State.


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