Brazilian doctors convicted over organ trafficking

ORGAN ‘MAFIA’::Patients, dead or alive, fell victim to the two urologists, who removed kidneys, livers and body tissues to sell to the US as part of their scheme

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Sun, Feb 09, 2014 - Page 7

Two Brazilian doctors have been sent to prison for selling contraband organs to the US as part of a suspected trafficking scheme, Brazilian law enforcement officials said on Friday.

The two men, Celso Roberto Scafi and Claudio Rogerio Carneiro Fernandes, are both urologists who practiced medicine in the state of Minas Gerais.

However, Brazilian officials allege they also were part of an organ-trafficking “mafia” in which kidneys, livers and other organs and body tissues were illegally removed from patients, some of whom were still alive, and sold.

The men were convicted at a trial in February last year, but appealed to a Brazilian higher court, which on Thursday upheld the lower court’s verdict.

The men were remanded into custody and are being held at a prison in Pocos de Caldas, 500km from state capital Belo Horizonte.

A Brazilian judge in the case last week sentenced the men to prison terms of 17 and 18 years, according to Brazilian news reports. Their licenses to practice medicine also have been revoked. Brazilian authorities said a search was underway for a third physician in the scheme, anesthesiologist Sergio Poli Gaspar, who failed to turn himself in to authorities and is considered a fugitive from justice.

The case dealt with a 10-year old boy, Paulo Veronesi Pavesi, whose organs were removed without permission and sent to the US after his accidental death in a fall.