Organ trade gang receives up to 24 years in jail in southern Turkey
ADANA – Doğan News AgencyA local court in Turkey sentenced on Jan. 20 a total of 15 suspects to between two and 24 years in jail for trading organs on social media, in a ruling which came after five years.
Police initially began to surveille an organ trade gang in the southern province of Adana in 2011.
After eight months of surveillance, the police initiated simultaneous operations at 46 addresses in 11 provinces across Turkey. A total of 22 suspects were detained for allegedly being a member of an organ trade gang. The members were accused of finding poor people as organ donors and donor receivers via social media.
Osman Kökyıldırım, 51, the alleged leader of the gang, and Savaş Günay, who allegedly assisted him, were arrested by the court, while 20 others were released pending trial.
Kökyıldırım, who was accused of choosing organ donors among the poor, confessed to the crime. However, he said he had not done it again after he learned it was a crime. Günay, who was accused of finding the buyers via Facebook messages and also preparing false documents which showed the organ donors and receiver were relatives, denied all charges. “I sold my kidney but never helped anyone in trade,” Günay told the court.
Kökyıldırım was sentenced to 24 years in jail by the Adana 5th Court of Serious Crimes. The court also sentenced Günay to five years in jail.
A further 13 suspects received jail sentences ranging from two to five years. The court acquitted six suspects, while the case was closed for one suspect who had died in the interim.
In Turkey, organ donation is only permitted between relatives, according to a law which aimed to prevent organ trade.
The court’s ruling came soon after dual controversial court rulings which allowed for organ transplantation between people who were not relatives.
Two Turkish courts annulled the procedures of an organ transplant commission prohibiting organ donation to third parties.
The rulings were issued by the fifth and sixth administrative courts in Istanbul on the grounds that the only treatment for some patients was an organ transplant.
The courts said the rationale stated by the Ethical Commission for the Assessment of Organ Transplantation Applications, a commission responsible for organ transplant decisions, prohibiting organ transplants between non-related persons should be based on solid information stated in a written document.