UK court set to hear Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal


A British Court of Appeal Judge, Lord Justice Lewis, has granted the family of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, permission to appeal the United Kingdom High Court judgment that found that the British authorities could lawfully evade reaching any conclusion on whether Kanu has been tortured, subjected to extraordinary rendition and arbitrarily detained.

The order, signed by Justice Lewis on May 8, ordered that the hearing of the appeal be expedited.

“A ruling on March 23, 2023, the UK High Court had declined Kanu family’s suit for judicial review of the failure of the British government to reach a firm view in Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition. This earlier ruling prompted an application for leave to appeal to the British Court of Appeal by the Bindmans LLP, the UK law firm representing the Kanu family in the case,” a statement by special counsel for Kanu, Aloy Ejimakor, stated on Wednesday.

“ORDER made by the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Lewis.

“On consideration of the appellant’s notice and accompanying documents, but without an oral hearing, in respect of an application for permission to appeal the order of The Honourable Mr Justice Swift dated 23 March 2023 dismissing the appellant’s claim for judicial review.

“Decision: 1. Permission to appeal on all grounds (1, 2 and 3) is granted. 2. The appeal is to be expedited,” Justice Lewis’ Order of May 8 read.

Giving reasons for the Order, Lewis said, “This appeal concerns Nnamdi Kanu, the brother of the appellant. Mr Kanu is a British national. He has been detained in Nigeria since about June 2021 and is, it seems, presently held in solitary confinement. It is said that he was the subject of an extraordinary rendition being taken from Kenya to Nigeria. This appeal concerns the request for consular assistance. Part of that case concerns the extent to which Mr Kanu has a legitimate expectation of assistance, and whether the respondent must form a view as to whether he was the subject of extraordinary rendition and is obliged as a matter of procedural fairness to inform him of what that view is (grounds 1 and 3). Related is a claim that it was irrational of the respondent not to reach a firm view on the question of extraordinary rendition in the circumstances of this case (ground 2).

“The grounds of appeal raise important issues concerning the scope of the obligations on the respondent in relation to requests for consular assistance in respect of British nationals detained abroad and the proper interpretation and application of the decision of the Court of Appeal in R (Abassi) v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2003] UKHRR 76. For those reasons, there is a compelling reason for the appeal to be heard, within the meaning of CPR 52.6(1)(b). Permission is granted on all three grounds. 3. The matter is urgent as, on the material before me, Mr Kanu remains in detention and, it seems, in solitary confinement. The hearing of the appeal should be expedited. The appeal should be heard, if reasonably possible, before 14 July 2023 and if not, as soon as reasonably possible thereafter.”