Egyptian health ministry denies reports of widespread organ trafficking in Egypt
Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Aug 2017

Egypt's Ministry of Health denied on Sunday that Egypt is a hot spot for illegal organ trafficking as portrayed in a short German investigative documentary about organ trafficking in the country, MENA news agency reported.

According to the health ministry, the short documentary was recorded outside the ministry's hospitals and did not prove that there is "ongoing trade" inside Egyptian hospitals.

In early August, German-based ProSieben aired the short investigative documentary by German journalist Thilo Mischke on his show Uncovered.

The documentary, which shows Mischke filming secretly in Egypt, features two Sudanese refugees who allegedly fell victim to organ trafficking rings.

Mischke also published an investigative report in German magazine Focus about his trip to the country.

The documentary, which was recorded in May, has been translated into Arabic and has gone viral on social media sites over the past 48 hours.

On one Facebook account, the film has gained over 1 million views.

"The documentary is an attempt to defame medical tourism in Egypt as part of a systematic plan to compromise the country's national security," the health ministry said.

In July, Egypt's prosecutor-general referred 41 defendants, including a number of prominent physicians, to criminal court for running an organ trafficking network in the country.

The prosecutor accused the 41 defendants, who were arrested in December 2016, of profiteering, bribery, money laundering, dereliction of duty and causing permanent disabilities.

According to investigations, the defendants had performed illegal operations between January 2011 and December 2016 as an organised criminal group, exploiting poor Egyptians in need of money by paying for and removing their organs, mainly kidneys, and transplanting them into foreign recipients at unlicensed clinics

The case was the largest of its kinds in recent years.

Organ trafficking is illegal in Egypt according to Article 60 of the country’s 2014 constitution, with violators facing penalties of up to seven years in prison.