Organ Harvesting & Trafficking (The Human Organ Trade)

Wonder how widespread this practise is?

German medicine rocked by Leipzig organ donor scandal

A worldwide shortage of organ donors has put pressure on many transplant clinics

Prosecutors are investigating an organ donor scandal in the east German city of Leipzig in which doctors allegedly manipulated an organ waiting list.

Three doctors have been suspended at the Leipzig University Clinic's organ transplant centre.

German media report that 38 patients with liver problems were falsely listed as dialysis cases in order to shorten their wait for a transplant.

Competition between transplant centres may be to blame, experts say.

There is a worldwide shortage of organ donors - a factor that may have exacerbated competition.

The board director at the Leipzig clinic, Wolfgang Fleig, said he could not rule out that money may have changed hands in the Leipzig scandal.

All the cases in the scandal concern liver patients, and all but one of the alleged manipulations took place in 2010 and 2011.

According to Frank Ulrich Montgomery, head of the German Medical Association, the irregularities are now "history" because supervision has been tightened. "Never has transplant medicine been as secure as it is today," he told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But he also said any previous malpractice should be cleared up.

The German Medical Association is the main federal body representing medical practitioners.

Other irregularities
Germany's MDR radio says the scandal is particularly bad news for Saxony, the state where Leipzig is located, because it has many patients urgently in need of transplants.

The head of Germany's Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, was quoted as saying half of the country's transplant centres should be shut to end damaging competition between them. Successful organ transplant programmes boost the prestige of clinics.

The German broadcaster ARD says there are 47 such centres in Germany, but last August they were all brought under a single supervisory body.

The health ministry says 10 centres have been checked so far and three other cases of irregularities were found.

It is not clear if there is any link between the Leipzig scandal and manipulations uncovered previously in Munich, Regensburg and Goettingen.
Another, long, article. Full text at link.

The task of accounting for the missing was left largely to outsiders. One of them was Michael Montgomery, an American radio journalist who had helped expose the massacre of forty-one Kosovar Albanians by Serbian forces in the village of Qyshk, on May 14, 1999. He began amassing troubling stories involving the K.L.A. Multiple sources told him that, in the days after Milosevic’s defeat, the K.L.A. had shipped accused traitors to camps in Albania. A former K.L.A. member recalled guarding seven prisoners in the back of a van, their mouths taped and their hands cuffed, as they crossed the border. A K.L.A. driver said that he had been given orders not to hurt anyone; once his captives were in Albania, they were taken to a house where doctors were present. The driver heard that the doctors sampled the prisoners’ blood and assessed their health. Several sources implied that this caretaking had a sinister purpose: the K.L.A. was harvesting the prisoners’ organs and selling them on the black market.

Montgomery was concerned that these stories might be propaganda planted by the Serbian government, so he tracked down additional sources. Three people recalled taking prisoners to a yellow house outside the Albanian town of Burrel. Another K.L.A. driver told Montgomery that there were only two places where he “brought people but never picked anyone up”: the yellow house and a cream-colored farmhouse near the airport in Tirana, Albania’s capital. The farmhouse, he noted, had a “very strong smell of medicine.” The driver added that he sometimes heard other drivers talking about “organs, kidneys, and trips from the house to the airport.” Since the late nineteen-nineties, Istanbul—a short flight from Tirana—has been a destination for transplant tourism.

In late 2002, a K.L.A. member told Montgomery that the group had made “a fortune” by trafficking body parts, primarily kidneys. C., as Montgomery called the source, claimed that the K.L.A. received about forty-five thousand dollars per body. Most shipments involved body parts from “two or three Serbs,” though C. knew of an instance when the K.L.A. “did five Serbs together.”

In late 2002 and early 2003, Montgomery travelled with a colleague to Albania, carrying a map drawn by his informants. It directed them to the yellow house and to the farmhouse near the airport. But they didn’t knock on the doors. Montgomery thought that they needed stronger evidence before confronting the occupants. “The only way we felt we could report this was if bodies were recovered and matched with missing people,” he told me.

Montgomery decided to put his investigations aside, but he didn’t let the matter go entirely. He sent a memo to the U.N.’s missing-persons office in Kosovo, asserting that, in 1999 and 2000, between one hundred and three hundred prisoners were taken to Albania, where some were dispatched to a “makeshift clinic” that extracted “body organs from the captives.” The U.N. forwarded the memo to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, or I.C.T.Y. The tribunal, established in The Hague in 1993, was designed to bring a measure of justice to those who had suffered horrors in the Balkans. The Serbs did not see the tribunal as impartial, and they have remained hostile to it. Tomislav Nikolic, Serbia’s current President, said recently that the tribunal “was founded to try the Serbian people.” In fact, most of the convictions in I.C.T.Y. courtrooms have been of ethnic Serbs, in part because the Milosevic regime made little effort to conceal its crimes. In Qyshk, Serbian militia members responsible for the massacre left behind photographs of themselves posing with machine guns; the images were later used to identify some of the culprits.

The lead prosecutor at the I.C.T.Y. was Carla Del Ponte, an indefatigable fifty-six-year-old lawyer from the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. She had joined the tribunal in September, 1999, and she had tried dozens of Serbs for crimes against humanity. The K.L.A., she suspected, had committed significantly fewer war crimes, but scale is not exculpatory. ... ntPage=all
Medicus: Five guilty in Kosovo human organ trade case
Urologist Lutfi Dervishi was sentenced to eight years in prison for organised crime and human trafficking

An EU-led court in Kosovo has found five people guilty in connection with a human organ-trafficking ring.

The five are accused of carrying out dozens of illegal transplants at the Medicus Clinic in the capital, Pristina.

Meanwhile two former government officials also charged in the case have been cleared of involvement.

The trade was discovered when a Turkish man collapsed after having one of his kidneys removed at the clinic.

The case is being tried by Eulex, the European Union's law and order mission set up in Kosovo to handle sensitive cases.

The clinic's director, urologist Lutfi Dervishi was sentenced to eight years in prison for organised crime and human trafficking. His son, Arban, was sentenced to seven years and three months, while three other defendants received between one and three years' imprisonment.

Meanwhile Kosovo's former health secretary, Ilir Rrecaj, was acquitted on the charge for abusing official position or authority.

'Extreme poverty'
The special court heard that the Medicus Clinic recruited poor people from across eastern Europe and central Asia, promising them 15,000 euro (£12,600) for their organs.

The Medicus clinic was shut down after the scandal broke in 2008
Donors came from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey and lived in "extreme poverty or acute financial distress", the indictment said.

"They were alone, did not speak the local language, were uncertain of what they were doing and had no one to protect their interests," Judge Dean Pineles told the court on Monday.

Organ recipients, alleged to have been mainly from Israel, paid between 80,000 and 100,000 euro to receive a transplant.

Prosecutors alleged that at least 30 illegal kidney removals and transplants were carried out at the Medicus clinic in 2008.

The scandal broke when a Turkish organ donor was stopped by officers at Pristina airport, because he looked visibly in pain after having one of his kidneys removed at the clinic.

The centre was closed down shortly after Kosovan and UN police officers launched their investigation.

The international trafficking case was tried by Eulex because of the involvement of two government ministers, reports BBC Balkans correspondent Guy de Launey.

Five years on from its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, Kosovo's own judiciary is still weak and vulnerable to external influence, our correspondent says.

Kosovo has been haunted by another alleged case of organ-trafficking dating back to the war in 1999.

In that case, which has never been proven, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militants allegedly trafficked the organs of Serb captives they later killed.
Kosovo organ trafficking scandal widens ... 04567.html
EU prosecutors to investigate if key government figures were involved

EU prosecutors will investigate key government figures in Kosovo for any involvement in an international organ trafficking network that lured poor donors into the country, harvested their kidneys and sold them to wealthy recipients for huge profits, sources close to the case have confirmed.

Shaip Muja, a member of parliament and former health adviser to the current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, is expected be one of eight people indicted in a second round of investigations into the activities of the Medicus clinic in the Kosovan capital of Pristina, where at least 24 illegal transplants took place in 2008.

Five people were last week found guilty of human trafficking and illegal organ transplants in the first phase of the trial, including the urologist Lutfi Dervishi, the clinic’s director, and his son, Arban, who were sentenced to eight and seven years respectively. It is thought to be the first time in the world that medical doctors have been found complicit in human trafficking and organised crime.

The EU’s rule of law mission, known as Eulex, says it cannot yet confirm the identities of those it is investigating in the second phase. But an amended indictment introduced towards the end of the first trial said the Medicus doctors held “repeated consultations and several meetings with senior officials in the government of Kosovo”, including Mr Muja and the then Minister of Health, Alush Gashi.

Jonathan Ratel, the lead prosecutor, told The Independent: “The new investigation emerges directly out of evidence given in the first trial, including witnesses, as identified in the amended indictment.”

Mr Muja testified during the trial that he had met the doctors, who had applied for a licence to conduct transplants. He denied knowledge of the trafficking ring.

Interpol is still hunting the Turkish surgeon Yusuf Sonmez, dubbed “Dr Frankenstein” in the Turkish media, who is said to have conducted most of the operations at the Medicus clinic. Mr Ratel believes he is continuing his operations in South Africa, having escaped house detention in Istanbul.

The Medicus scandal first came to light in 2008 when a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport after selling his kidney at the clinic. It gradually emerged that dozens of impoverished donors had been trafficked into Kosovo from several countries, including Russia, Moldova and Ukraine. Some were paid as little as $10,000 (£8,400) for their kidney, which was then sold to recipients, mostly from Israel, for as much as $130,000.

Expanding investigations to include government figures close to Mr Thaci puts the EU in a difficult position. Sources close to the investigation say there has been a reluctance among top officials in Brussels to press ahead with the organ trafficking trial in case it upsets Kosovo’s fragile transition process.

They claim it is only the determination of individual prosecutors that has kept the trial alive.

“There is a perception Eulex doesn’t want to rock the boat with too many high-level indictments. Stability is priority No 1 for the international community,” said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Two weeks ago, Serbia agreed to recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty for the first time, but implementing the agreement is fraught with difficulties due to opposition from some of the Serb minority inside Kosovo.

In January, Eulex’s outgoing deputy head of mission, Andy Sparkes, admitted that political pressure was hindering progress on corruption cases. “There are occasions when [stability] can sit uneasily with the requirements of the rule of law,” he told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

Meanwhile, there are growing doubts over claims in a 2010 Council of Europe report that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, including Mr Thaci, who was a senior commander at the time, also engaged in organ trafficking during the 1998-1999 war with Serbia. The report has been widely criticised for its lack of evidence and its author, the prosecutor Dick Marty, refused to appear at the Medicus trial.

“After five years of prosecuting this case, I have not found evidence linking it to allegations of organ trafficking during wartime,” said Mr Ratel.
No mention of organs - yet.

Kosovo ex-rebels face EU war crimes charges

Kosovo Albanians wave Albanian flags and banners as they take part in a protest in Pristina on 27 May 2013

EU investigations into former rebels have provoked protests in Kosovo

An EU prosecutor has indicted 15 former Kosovo rebels on charges of torturing and killing civilians during the 1998-99 separatist war with Serbia.

Many of those indicted are said to be members of the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo.

Lawyers for some of the 15 have rejected the charges. Kosovo war veterans groups said the indictments were politically motivated.

The EU prosecutes war crimes in Kosovo seen as too sensitive for local courts.

Eulex, the EU's Rule of Law mission in Kosovo, said the charges related to crimes allegedly committed at a detention centre run by Kosovo Liberation Army rebels in 1998.

"The defendants are charged with criminal offences of war crimes against civilian population, including torture, mistreatment of prisoners, and murder," it said in a statement.

The detention facility was located in Drenica, the KLA's north-western stronghold in its fight against the armed forces of then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

Eulex did not name the defendants, but reports said they included members of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo.

Lawyers for two men - Sylejman Selimi, a former KLA commander who is now Kosovo's ambassador to Albania, and Sami Lushtaku, the mayor of the northern town Srbica - have denied their clients were involved in war crimes.

Eulex investigations into former rebels have previously provoked angry protests from ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority fought an insurgency against Serb forces in the late 1990s, in which more than 10,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes.

Nato bombed Serb positions to halt the mass ethnic cleansing and, in June 1999, Kosovo was placed under UN administration.

Kosovo formally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move that was opposed by Belgrade. The international community is split over recognition.

The indictments against the 15 former rebels is the third high-profile war crimes case launched by Eulex.

In June, three former KLA commanders were convicted for abusing civilian detainees in a rebel-run prison.

In September, Fatmir Limaj - a former top KLA commander who is a senior Democratic Party figure - and nine other people were acquitted after a Eulex indictment accused them of abusing civilians at a detention centre.
I think this fits here.

Traffickers disguised organs as frozen fish

China: A gang that smuggled illegally harvested human kidneys in boxes labelled as frozen seafood has been jailed. The ruse worked for three years, until the gang was caught when it advertised for donors online. Donors were paid €3,100 for organs and the gang hired a hospital ward in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, to carry out the illegal surgeries. They sold kidneys for €15,000, a court heard. Twelve men were jailed for between three and 12 years for organ trafficking.
Picked this one up on an FB thread where the admins are not as good as they could be on fact-checking. As well as being the Blood Libel rewritten for the 21st century, the obvious question is - where is Israel keeping the organs harvested from this number of people? you can't just do it at random, they've got to be tissue-typed to recipients. But it does seem interesting that the Israelis have annoyed enough people by the things they already do fro them to get to be suspected of just about everything... that this is beleived without rational analysis...
Picked this one up on an FB thread where the admins are not as good as they could be on fact-checking. As well as being the Blood Libel rewritten for the 21st century, the obvious question is - where is Israel keeping the organs harvested from this number of people? you can't just do it at random, they've got to be tissue-typed to recipients. But it does seem interesting that the Israelis have annoyed enough people by the things they already do fro them to get to be suspected of just about everything... that this is beleived without rational analysis...

Well, this wasn't a Blood Libel:

Israel admits organ harvesting
Mon, Dec 21, 2009
Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without permission of their families.

The issue emerged with publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr Jehuda Hiss. ...
Police in Russia are tracking a gang - apparently including a doctor - who drugged a TV soap actor and removed his testicles.

Dmitry Nikolaev, 30, had a drink with a 'young blonde woman' who approached him at a bar after he finished a performance at a small Moscow theatre.

Flirting with him, she invited him to a sauna, and though he was married, he agreed to go with her.

Read more:
"They fear that his testicles were removed by a gang selling organs on the black market"

There's a market for human testicles?
This sort of fits here.

Organ Banking: From Impossible to Slightly Less Impossible

EVERY TIME AN ORGAN donor dies, a timer starts counting down. Once a surgeon removes a kidney from a body, it can only survive for about 36 hours. Livers, four to 16 hours; hearts, just three to five.

Today, if an organ doesn’t make it to an acceptable donor by the time the clock runs out, it’s discarded—useless. And that’s a travesty. Over 120,000 people in the US sit on the transplant waiting list every year—yet in 2014, only 29,532 of individuals received an organ. Every day, 21 people die while waiting on that list.

But there’s a way to add more sand to the hourglass: organ banking. If scientists can find a way to lengthen organs’ shelf life, they could be set aside, creating a stockpile for when patients need them. Doctors could also take the time to repair tissue, turning more organs into viable donations. And if a transplant didn’t have to happen immediately, a recipient’s immune system could be slowly acclimated to the new organ’s cells, making their body less likely to reject it.

Recognizing banking’s potential, the US Department of Defense recently awarded $3.5 million worth of grants to several startups that are trying to finally figure out how to preserve organs. One method looks to essentially freeze-dry them for quick, convenient storage; the other wants to change how their cells and tissues operate, nudging them into a hibernation of sorts. The former would be faster, and the latter would probably be safer—but both methods have their obstacles. ...
China's black market for organ donations

...Perhaps the biggest problem confronting the government is persuading the public to donate in the first place.

Many Chinese believe the body is sacred and should be buried intact in a show of respect to their ancestors.

Largely for this reason the country's donor rates are among the lowest in the world - 0.6 donations per million people compared with 37 per million in Spain.

The government says that more than 12,000 transplants will be carried out this year - an increase on the number of operations carried out when it used prisoners' organs.

But with an estimated 300,000 people requiring organs, the huge demand has created a thriving black market.

After weeks of investigation, a young man who sold his kidney agreed to speak to me as long as we protected his identity. Lifting up his T-shirt, he showed me the tell-tale surgical scar where his organ was removed. The 21-year-old says he sold his kidney for $7,000 (£4,500) to pay off his gambling debts. He describes the dark, secretive world where the traffickers operate after arranging the sale online.

"At first I was taken to a hospital where they collected blood samples and carried out check-ups," he told me. "I then waited at a hotel for several weeks until the traffickers found a match. Then one day a car came to pick me up. The driver told me to put on a blindfold. We drove for around half an hour along a bumpy road. When I took my blindfold off I realised I was at a farmhouse. Inside there was a full surgical theatre. There were doctors and nurses in uniforms. The woman receiving my kidney was there with her family. We didn't speak. I was scared but then the doctors put me to sleep. I woke up in a different farmhouse - my kidney was gone. The buyer wanted life and I wanted money." ...
It hadn't been mentionned for seven years, but it appears that the story of Dr Santosh Raut a.k.a. Amit Kumar and the network he allegedly ruled in India had some solid basis in fact :

« Many who refused [to sell their organs] claim they were drugged and had their organ removed without consent, while others have alleged they were threatened at gunpoint » : it seems that the harvesting of organs against the donor's will by organized networks does happen sometimes, despite the theoritical objections raised against their existence.

See also :

Some posts of interest here:
Looks like another serious case.

Detaining 16 suspects of organ trafficking for 15 days pending investigation
The Egyptian law regulates donating organs in condition that the host is a relative, bans human organs trade

Daily News Egypt 20 hours ago 0 Comments
The South Giza prosecution renewed Tuesday the detaining of 16 suspects accused of organ trafficking in Abu Al-Nomrous, Giza, for 15 days pending investigation state media reported.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced arresting a cell of 12 suspects, accusing them of trading in human organs. The ministry said that the cell includes three doctors, four nursing staff members, three workers in hospitals, and two mediators. The cell agreed with Egyptians to sell their organs to foreign patients.

The ministry said that the security forces arrested the suspects during an operation to eradicate a part of a liver and a ren from a citizen in a private hospital, for $10,000.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health denied in a statement, claims of organ trade in hospitals, saying that organ transplants take place according to strict legal procedures in licensed hospitals and is subject to meticulous monitoring. ...
A rather disturbing case.

An Indian woman's husband and brother-in-law have been arrested after she told police they stole one of her kidneys in lieu of a dowry.

Local media report that the West Bengal woman's husband arranged an appendicitis surgery when she was suffering stomach pain two year ago.

Late in 2017, two separate medical examinations revealed she was in fact missing one of her kidneys.

She alleges that her husband had frequently made demands for a dowry.

The payment of dowries - traditionally paid from a bride's family to a husband's - has been banned in India since 1961.

Speaking to Indian media, the alleged victim, Rita Sarkar, said she had been the victim of domestic abuse over the dowry issue for many years.

"My husband took me to a private nursing home in Kolkata, where he and the medical staff told me that I would be fine after removing my inflamed appendix through surgery," the Hindustan Times quoted her as saying.

"My husband warned me not to disclose the surgery in Kolkata to anyone."
Wasn't it spinal fluid that Hunter S Thompson and his attorney were getting high on in Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas ? (the part where they're hallucinating in the hotel room) ..

There's an infamous Terry Southern short story about getting high on the blood of a psychotic mental patient called The Blood of a Wig ("wig" as in wigged out). It's the one that started the rumour about JFK's head wound and Lyndon B. Johnson which is so revolting I'm reluctant to post it. Those funny sixties!
a holiday maker's body has been returned to England missing his heart and kidneys:

The canopic jar has been delayed in transit? :dunno:

No excuse for pinching the heart, though:

"The canopic jars were four in number, each for the safekeeping of particular human organs: the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver, all of which, it was believed, would be needed in the afterlife. There was no jar for the heart: the Egyptians believed it to be the seat of the soul, and so it was left inside the body."
OK, I'll put in spoiler tags because it is seriously disgusting.

Southern's story, which I'm not sure how much he invented and how much was myth, had President Johnson altering JFK's head wound to make an entry wound look like an exit wound, so that the position of the shooters, who were not Lee Harvey Oswald, and the direction of their shots from the front would be concealed and look like the shot came from behind. To do this he dropped his trousers in the morgue and fucked the entry wound in JFK's skull to make it look bigger and messier like an exit wound, and that's why Oswald was believed to be the shooter in the official account.

Typical counterculture bad taste humour, really - I'm not saying it was true! It's in one of Southern's short fiction compilations. Read The Magic Christian instead, that genuinely is one of the funniest books ever written.
Disturbing news.

New Horrors: China Harvesting Muslim Organs in Concentration Camps.

“I was called by my chief surgeon to go to a room near the Urumqi execution grounds to remove the liver and two kidneys from an executed prisoner,” Enver Tohti, an exiled Uyghur oncology surgeon, told me. “It turned out he wasn’t fully dead because they [Chinese execution squad] shot him through the right chest [intentionally] to knock him out [without killing him], so I would have time to remove his organs,” a surgery his chief surgeon demand he perform without giving the prisoner an anaesthetic.

Tohti would see the man’s still beating heart as he removed his kidneys and liver.
Disturbing news.

New Horrors: China Harvesting Muslim Organs in Concentration Camps.

“I was called by my chief surgeon to go to a room near the Urumqi execution grounds to remove the liver and two kidneys from an executed prisoner,” Enver Tohti, an exiled Uyghur oncology surgeon, told me. “It turned out he wasn’t fully dead because they [Chinese execution squad] shot him through the right chest [intentionally] to knock him out [without killing him], so I would have time to remove his organs,” a surgery his chief surgeon demand he perform without giving the prisoner an anaesthetic.

Tohti would see the man’s still beating heart as he removed his kidneys and liver.
Most horrific. :(
Words fail me:

“A mother and her daughter have been arrested in Spain after they complained to police of a fraud by the daughter’s boyfriend, who they say had promised to kill a man for them, harvest the organs and share €60,000 from the sale.

The women made a down payment for the supposed ‘hit’ in March after the mother’s ex-partner swindled the family of €60,000.

The boyfriend said he was a secret agent with Spain’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI) spy agency and would recoup the money by having him captured, killed and stripped of his organs.

Spanish authorities say that the women signed a contract with the fake spy, agreeing to the plan and paying him €7,000 for operational expenses.

After months passed and the assassination failed to take place, the two women went to a police station in central Madrid to report being victims of fraud.

In a raid on the male suspect’s home police found a CV in which he claims to be a crack marksman and speak 22 languages, including Latin and Hawaiian.

The man, who said he worked for Mossad and the CIA, claimed on a false service record to have taken out 1,897 “objectives”, while capturing another 524 in a total of 352 completed missions in 104 countries. He listed a total of 46 medals won during these operations.”

maximus otter
Swedes have now come up with a new way to keep hearts alive for transplants. Instead of cooling them down, they keep the hearts in a cocktail of adrenaline and cocaine.
I think this might explain why Keith Richards is still alive.