CAIRO: On Sunday, the Cairo Criminal Court heard part of the defense lawyers’ statement in the Hidelina defective blood bags case, adjourning the rest of the statement to Monday.
The day before, the Court heard the prosecutor’s statement and examined seven reports submitted by various authorities which all indicated that the blood bag samples they had examined violated 14 local and international medical manufacturing standards.
The prosecution demanded the maximum punishment for: factory owner Hani Sorour, a former MP affiliated with the National Democratic Party who was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in January 2007; Dr Helmi Salah Al-Din, general manager of the blood unit at the Ministry of Health; Dr Mohamed Wagdan, chairman of the technical center in Hidelina; Nivan Sorour, Hani Sorour’s sister and board member in Hidelina; as well as three other company employees, Wafaa Abdel Rahim, Ashraf Ishaq and Fathia Ahmed Abdel Rahim.
The prosecution’s statement argued that the accused had jeopardized the lives of poor citizens who only have access to public hospitals, with no consideration for the health consequences of these defective blood bags.
On Nov.7, the Cairo Appeals Court overturned a previous Criminal Court ruling exonerating those implicated in the Hidelina case and ordered a retrial upon a request from Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud.
The court case began in 2007 when an employee at the health ministry, Soheir El Sharkawi, blew the whistle on 200,000 defective blood bags in the ministry’s storage procured from Hidelina.
Investigations also found violations in the license granted to Hidelina to provide the bags. The Ministry of Health insisted that no harm had resulted from the blood bags which contained what they labeled “industrial defects.
The blood bags were ripe with bacteria and fungi that, some doctors said could cause cancer and hepatitis.