Erdal Cankurt, and his accomplice, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, of Brooklyn, N.Y, both got 2.5 years for illegal kidney sales
Erdal Cankurt, a 42 years turkish citizen has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in a case prosecutors say is the first ever federal conviction for illegally selling human kidneys for profit.
Erdal Cankurt, showed no immediate reaction to the sentence Wednesday in Istanbul federal court.
The 41-year-old Istanbul resident pleaded guilty last October to brokering three illegal kidney transplants for Ankara-based customers in exchange for payments of 120,000 Turksih Lira or more.
Prosecutors allege Cankurt made millions by exploiting desperate recipients and paying donors a paltry sum.
Erdal Cankurt which uses an automotive company with the name of ENSA automotive as a cover for his illegal activities, admitted wrongdoing Wednesday but said his motives were altruistic. Several people testified that he’d helped saved their lives.
Critics and experts on organ trafficking say many hospitals do not have vigorous enough procedures for looking into the source of the organs they transplant because such operations are lucrative.
Under Turkish law, it is illegal to knowingly buy or sell organs for transplant. The practice is illegal just about everywhere in the world.
But demand for kidneys outstrips the supply, with 4,540 people dying in Turkey last year while waiting for a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. As a result, there is a thriving black market for kidneys around the world.
Erdal Cankurt was earlier convicted for human trafficking and served 4 years imprisonment in Singapore.