Egyptian authorities announced on Tuesday evening the capture of a gang of medical staff for trafficking human organs in the area of Abu Nomros in Giza, southern Egypt. The authorities arrested 16 people involved in the case, reported Al Arabiya.
An official security source confirmed to Al Arabiya that the suspects formed a gang of eight people who go after those those wishing to sell their organs. The gang includes a doctor from a hospital in Abu Al-Nomros and technicians in laboratory analysis who purchase the kidney for 25,000 LE ($1,400) and sell it to wealthy people for $25,000.
Dr. Khaled Mujahid, spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Health, told Al Arabiya that these illegal operations were taking place in al-Shimi Hospital in Abu al-Nomros city. The suspects were arrested and the public prosecution is investigating the case.
Investigations by the Egyptian security services revealed that an Egyptian citizen reported that Arabs, foreigners and Egyptians are seen in the hospital. He heard from some neighbors and residents of the area that the hospital perform illegal operations.
As the hospital was under inspection, a woman from the Gulf was found undergoing a kidney transplant surgery; the kidney was purchased from a woman for 20,000 LE ($1130).
The security forces seized $72,000 dollars in the hospital. Investigations revealed that a broker named Omar was the one who brought the donor to the Gulf woman. During the investigation, Omar revealed that the donor receives 20,000 LE in return for selling his kidney or part of the liver.
While the patient who is having the transplant pays $25,000 distributed as follows, $10,000 for the doctor (called Izzat), the anesthetic gets $5,000, the nurse gets $1500, and the technician $3,000. The remaining $500, goes to the broker as his commission.
Investigations revealed that the offenders, including doctors, nurses and brokers, were caught with large sums of money amounting to at least one million Egyptian pounds. They formed a network whose members seek victims from poor rural and popular areas, exploiting their poverty and need for money.
The doctors perform necessary tests on them, and they purchase their organs and sell them to rich people in health hazards.
Southern Giza Prosecution Office shut down the hospital and marked it with red wax. The accused were charged with trafficking, transporting human organs and running a facility without a permit.
The prosecution detained the accused for 15 days pending investigation.
The Ministry of Health confirmed that the hospital is not authorized to carry out such operations, adding that organ transplants in Egypt must be in accordance with the law and be conducted in licensed places. The donor must register a contract in the notary public office, to make sure there is no suspicion of trafficking. Patients should also get necessary approvals from the Ministry of Health to ensure patient’s safety and to perform the surgery in a licensed place.
The ministry insists on a committee of three doctors to explain the complications of the surgery to donors, to ensure that there is no suspicion of trafficking and to release a police record as well. Also, as part of the process, all papers have to be submitted to the official organ transplant committee to approve the operation.
The ministry added that if the patients are non-Egyptians and they wish to perform surgery in Egypt, the embassy must agree to the surgery, confirming that Egyptians will not be allowed to donate organs to any other nationality.
Regarding the penalties, the ministry said that according to Law No. 5 of 2010 on the regulation of organ transplant; article 17 specifies that a person who transfers a human organ or part of it for the purposes of trade will face imprisonment and a fine not less than 500,000 LE ($27,000) and not more than one million pounds ($54,000).
Article 18 specifies that a person who carries or assists in carrying out a transplant operation resulting in the death of the donor shall be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Article 19 includes death sentence, imprisonment for life or a fine not less than one million pounds and not more than two million pounds for anyone who by means of fraud or coercion removed an organ for the purpose of transplanting.
Article 20 of the law includes a penalty not less than 500,000 LE ($28,000) and not more than one million Egyptian pounds ($56,340) the law, and 10 years imprisonment for anyone who transports organs, in addition to confiscating the money received.
Article 24 states that the court may order halting right to practice medicine for a period not less than 3 years and not exceeding 10 years, as well as closing the unauthorized medical facility.
The law also states a possible withdrawal of the license issued to the establishment that hosts any of the operations for a period not less than 3 years and not more than 10 years.