Egyptian prosecutors ordered on Wednesday the detention of 24 out of 45 suspects arrested yesterday over charges of organ and human trafficking, organ planting and the seizing of public funds, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.
The High Prosecution Authority for Public Funds ordered the suspects be detained for 15 days pending investigations into the charges.
The Ministry of Health and the Administrative Control Authority had announced on Tuesday the arrest of 45 individuals, including university professors, doctors, nurses, medical centre owners and brokers – Egyptians and foreigners – allegedly involved in illegal organ trafficking.
Some doctors arrested denied the charges, while some nurses accused brokers of exploiting patients in need of money.
Other suspects reportedly confessed that the accused doctors were paid between EGP 50,000 and EGP 60,000 to perform the operations, while kidneys were sold at EGP 10,000 to EGP 50,000.
The health ministry said in a Tuesday statement that that those arrested included professors working in the faculties of medicine at both Cairo and Ain Shams universities, as well as doctors from the Ahmed Maher teaching hospital, the National Institute of Urology and Nephrology and some privately-owned labs.
Ten medical centres and hospitals in the districts of Al-Haram and Giza were raided and shut down.
Tuesday's statement said that the ring took advantage of the current economic difficulties facing poor Egyptians, who sold their organs at low prices, allowing members of the ring to make fortunes.
Article 60 of the constitution prohibits organ trafficking, and the law punished traffickers with up to seven years in jail.
A study published in 2007 by the World Health Organisation stated that Egypt has been among the top exporters of kidneys in the last 10 years, alongside of China and Sri Lanka.