Daily Archives: October 27, 2011

Brazilian Doctors Found Guilty of Killing Patients for Organs

After twenty-five years, a sentence has been handed down in a criminal case involving illegal organ harvesting.  A judge sentenced Doctors Rui Sacramento, Pedro Torrecillas, and Mariano Fiore Jr. to seventeen years and six months each in prison.

Another neurosurgeon, Antonio de Carvalho Monteiro, was also accused but died last year.

The three doctors were charged with removing kidneys from four patients that were not dead. Between September and December 1986, the four patients, registered organ donors, were declared brain dead by neurosurgeon Mariano Fiore Jr., who then authorized the removal of the organs.

Torrecillas and Sacramento removed the organs and prepared them for transplant.  Following the removal of the organs, the patients died.

The organs were harvested at a public hospital and then sent to a private organ transplant facility.  At public hospitals, transplants are free, but wait lists are long.  At private facilities, the organ transplant process can be accelerated for those wealthy enough to pay the price.  For each kidney, it is estimated that $41,000 was paid.

Two organ recipients testified in the trial that they paid that amount for a kidney transplant at the private facility.  Both noted that they were not informed of where the organ donation was from.

The case came to light in December of 1986 when the head Doctor at the University of Taubate’s medical school noticed irregularities in records of organ transplants.  He investigated further into the transplants and the team of doctors who performed them and turned the information over to the Federal Council of Medicine.

The state prosecutor on the case, Marcio Friggi de Carvalho said that the victims “simply did not have the diagnosis of brain death.”

When the sentence was handed down, the doctors’ attorney noted that he respected the jury’s decision but his clients were going to appeal.  The doctors will be permitted to continue practicing while their appeal is considered.

Family members of the victims present when the sentence was handed down cried and hugged each other.

The decision has long been awaited. Brazilian authorities termed the case extremely complex to explain the twenty-five year wait.  The Brazilian criminal justice system is a slow machine; it is not uncommon for cases to take years or even decades to be decided.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Health, Sick Sad World

“Kill the Gays” Bill Back in the Face of Woman Winning Human Rights Award for LGBT Activism

Earlier this month, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a Ugandan woman, won the 2011 Martin Ennas Award for Human Rights Defenders.  The award is given annually by ten of the world’s leading human rights non-governmental organizations and has been referred to as the Nobel prize for human rights.  Nabagesera is the founder and executive director of the LGBT rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda.

The situation for Uganda’s LGBT community is difficult, with documented cases of discrimination, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, torture and other ill-treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Activists who work to expose such abuses are often targeted.

Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone publishes a list of the 100 “Top Homos” calling for the people to be hanged. (Photo Courtesy of San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.)

In January, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered after the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published a list of Uganda’s 100 “Top Homos” and called for the people in the list to be hanged.  Nabagesera’s name also appeared on the list.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense that carries a life sentence.  On Tuesday, Parliament voted to reopen a debate over a bill that seeks to expand on the criminalization of homosexuality and make it punishable by the death penalty.

The legislation was proposed in October 2009 by Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati.  The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee suggested that the penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” should be the same as for “defilement,” a crime punishable by death.  The bill could mandate the death penalty or life in prison for people who identify as gay or are caught engaging in homosexual acts.

The bill failed at the end of the legislative session after an international outcry directed at the nation.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the bill. More than 1.6 million people around the world signed a petition urging the Parliament to let the bill die.

Bahati said that the bill is aimed at stamping out western-imported immoral behaviors from society, protecting the moral fabric of the nation, saving the traditional family, and buttressing legislation against ‘gayism.’

Uganda is not the only African nation dealing with gay rights.  Ghana and Malawi have passed laws making homosexuality illegal, while some in Zimbabwe are seeking to have gay rights included in the constitution.

Via Impunity Watch.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Sick Sad World, World