An Egyptian court convicted 37 people on Thursday who faced charges relating to the illicit trade in human organs, Reuters has reported. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 15 years. One suspect died before the trial. Under Egyptian law, defendants have 60 days to appeal against their convictions.
The Cairo Criminal Court also cleared three people in the case which involved a total of 41 people, including doctors, nurses and middlemen. The defendants were rounded up during a 2016 raid in which millions of dollars were recovered.
The raid was part of an investigation that focused on private hospitals and health centres, both licensed and unlicensed, where transplants and organ harvesting took place, the health ministry said at the time.
Although the practice is banned, poverty drives some Egyptians to sell their organs, often to wealthy foreigners, in illicit transactions. Investigators found that one Egyptian woman had died after she sold her kidney, as did three foreigners after their transplant operations.