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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 13:34 GMT
Man tells of S Africa kidney sale
Transplant kidney
Human kidneys are a scarce resource
A Brazilian man has been explaining how he sold his kidney to an alleged international human organ trafficking syndicate operating in South Africa.

He showed his scar on Brazilian television and said he had been paid $13,000 to have his organ removed in the South African town of Durban.

A third man has appeared in a South African court, accused of being one of the leaders of the gang.

People desperate for organ transplants reportedly paid up to $120,000.

The man, whose identity was disguised, told Brazil's Globo news, that he was from Recife in the poor north-eastern state of Pernambuco.

He said he had jumped at the chance to earn so much money due to his poverty and said his kidney had been transplanted into an Iraqi.

Nine Brazilians and two Israelis have also reportedly been arrested in north-eastern Brazil in connection with the organ ring.

"In all, they managed to talk 30 men into selling one of their kidneys," said Wilson Salles Damazio, local head of the Federal Police.

Worldwide expertise

A British-born South African man, Roderick Frank Kimberley, 58, handed himself over to police on Thursday after he was informed a warrant for his arrest had been issued, said police spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht.

He was released on bail on Friday and is expected to be charged under South Africa's Human Tissue Act.

Earlier this week, an Israeli man, Agania Robel, 41, was arrested minutes after being discharged following a kidney transplant, allegedly organised through the syndicate.

He appeared in court along with a South African of Israeli descent, Sushan Meir, 49.

In many Western countries, there are long waiting lists for human organs such as kidneys, livers and bone marrow.

South Africa hospitals have a worldwide reputation for their expertise in the field of organ transplants.

Global link?

South African police have interviewed several Brazilians and Israelis staying in Durban, allegedly brought there to sell their organs.

Police are expected to turn their attention next to medical workers in two Durban hospitals.

St Augustine's hospital has confirmed that it is helping police with their inquiries.

The investigating officer, Captain Helberg, has said that the investigation into the matter does not involve the hospital being party to any illegal transactions.

Investigators believe the illegal trade has been going on for more than a year and more arrests are expected.

"We are looking at members across the globe. We have had successes in Brazil, Israel and South Africa, but we suspect it is much wider," said police spokesperson Mary Martins-Engelbrecht.

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Country profile: South Africa
08 Nov 03  |  Country profiles


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