The organs of death row prisoners in Iran could be pre-sold to buyers under a new law that is heavily condemned by Iran’s Association of Surgeons.
The head of the Iranian regime’s Judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, who was involved in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, explained that an article has been included in the criminal justice laws that would allow a convict to “voluntarily offers his or her organ[s] before or after execution”. This would be approved by the judge, the ministry of justice, and the coroners’ office provided there is no medical obstacle that would render the organs unfit.
This law was heavily criticised by Iran’s Association of Surgeons, who described it as “extremely worrying, damaging to our profession and the prestige of Iran in the eyes of the civilised world”.
A professor who works in the liver transplant unit at the so-called ‘Khomeini hospital’ in Tehran and is a member of the American Society of Transplantation told the state-run ISNA news agency that no specialist surgeon would follow the law because “it is immoral and against all the values of our profession”.
“Anyone sentenced to death would not be in a right frame of mind to ‘voluntarily’ offer their organs, unless they are forced to do so under immense pressure. Members of our association of surgeon will never abide by this law.”
Currently, Iran has a huge deficit in the number of organs available for transplant, specifically kidneys, hearts, and livers, due to the vast number of patients, especially those who cannot afford to pay.
Katayoun Najafizadeh, the head of Iran’s Organ Donations Society, said that there are over 25,000 Iranian patients waiting on a transplant, but only 926 organs – mainly from car crash victims – were made available to the country’s specialist hospitals last year.
Worse still, because it is legal to sell organs in Iran, thousands of people from across the Middle East are visiting Iran’s private clinics in order to pay for organs and skip the waiting list in their own countries. This shortage, alongside the growing poverty in Iran, has led to an illicit black market where poor people will advertise the sale of one of their kidneys for as little as £200.
Rather than crack down or improve the lives of the poor, the regime has decided to lean in.