Four Israelis indicted on suspicion of trafficking in kidneys
The suspects, one of them a surgeon, are charged with forging documents and having the transplants done in Turkey.
Four men were indicted in a Petah Tikva court late last week on suspicion of running a kidney-trafficking network for transplants in Turkey.
The four – Dr. Michael Ziss, Shlomi Biton, Daniel Pe’er and Sahar Shalabi – were also charged with fraud and other offenses.
Since 2013, Biton had allegedly contacted people who published ads offering to sell their kidneys; he told them he needed one for a sick relative and would pay.
According to the indictment, Ziss, a surgeon, offered patients a kidney for hundreds of thousands of shekels. Pe’er and Shalabi accompanied the donors and patients to hospitals in Turkey.
After being paid, Ziss allegedly forged documents and had them translated into Turkish and notarized. With these papers he obtained the hospitals’ consent for the operations. He bought airline tickets for the patients, donors and escorts, and made the arrangements for the transplants.
According to the indictment, Biton paid the donors upon their return to Israel. In one case he paid only half the pledged amount and threatened to harm the donor after he demanded the money.
The defendants allegedly did not follow up with the donors or provide them with any medical treatment or instructions after the transplants, thus endangering their health.
“The defendants operated a network and took advantage of the distress of patients who needed a kidney transplant, and of young people who fell into debt – and all for profit,” the prosecutors said in a statement.
They asked the court to extend Ziss and Biton’s detention until the end of the legal proceedings.