Forty-five suspects accused of being members of a massive international human organ trafficking ring were arrested by security forces on Tuesday. According to a statement published by the Ministry of Health, the criminal organisation includes doctors and nurses.
The suspects were referred to the prosecution which decided on Wednesday to imprison 24 of the 45 defendants for 15 days pending investigations, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
The newspaper also reported that the nurses involved in the criminal organisation confessed to their involvement, adding that the doctors were paid EGP 50,000-60,000 for every organ harvested. The doctors have denied the accusations.
The Health Ministry said the ring was being monitored and the arrest was carried out with the help of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), adding that several workers, patients and brokers were also arrested.
Meanwhile, the ACA said in a statement it issued following the arrest operation that the criminal enterprise was comprised of both Egyptian and Arab nationals.
The Ministry of Health said that among the arrested were medical professors working for the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University and its Ain Shams University affiliate. Other doctors that have been arrested include doctors working for the Ahmed Maher educational hospital and various privately-owned medical centres and labs.
“The campaign targeted a number of privately licensed and unlicensed hospitals and medical centres, most of which are based in Giza,” the Health Ministry’s statement said.
The Doctors Syndicate issued a statement saying it is monitoring the arrests, adding that it will be referring the accused doctors to a disciplinary committee as a preface to removing their names from the syndicate’s registers.
“The Doctors Syndicate is following the case and condemns the acts of human organ trafficking by the 12 doctors arrested. All doctors involved in the ring will be referred to a disciplinary committee affiliated to the syndicate in order to punish them by removing their names from the registers if the accusations are proven to be true.” the syndicate’s statement read.
The Ministry of Health said the accused exploited the economic situation of some Egyptians and the suffering of some patients and their need for treatment. Their statement added that 10 medical centres and hospitals have been raided and investigated. They have also been temporarily shut down pending investigations.
In August, six people were arrested on charges of forming a gang specialised in human organ trafficking. According to a statement issued from the Ministry of Interior, among the arrested were a husband and wife as well as four other associates who ran the criminal ring in southern Cairo’s Basateen neighbourhood, persuading people to sell their organs for money through an unlicensed medical centre.
The husband’s apartment was the operational headquarters of the ring where they gathered victims and provided medical care to them before and after surgeries.