Prosecutor General repeals verdict on contaminated blood bag case

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud has repealed the verdict issued by the Cairo Criminal Court that exonerated those accused in the Hidelina case of providing defective blood bags to the Ministry of Heath.

One of the exonerated defendants was MP Hani Sorour, owner of the Hidelina factory, and the prosecutor general repealed the verdict due to what he deemed mistakes in the application of the legalities of the trial and the testimony of witnesses.

The trial had exonerated Sorour and administrators in Hidelina for selling defective blood bags to the Ministry of Health, as well as officials from the ministry.

Abdel-Meguid has forwarded the repeal to the Appeals Court for consideration.

Releasing a statement Tuesday, Abdel-Meguid indicated that the circumstances surrounding the verdict offered numerous bases on which a revocation of the verdict could be considered.

Paramount among the ambiguities was the court’s decision to perceive the defects in the blood bags as within the permitted parameters set by the law, something the forensic reports issued on the case did not verify.

The forensic reports presented to court also indicated that the defects in the bags were not a result of bad methods of storage but could only have come about through a fault in the production process.

The public prosecutor stated that there were suspicions of perjury in the trial, and more pertinently, the verdict to exonerate the accused was contradictory to the evidence presented in court.

Those who had been tried in the case were: Dr Helmi Salah Al-Din, general manager of the blood affairs department at the Ministry of Health; Dr Mohamed Wagdan, chairman of the technical center in Hidelina; Nivan Sorour, Hani Sorour’s sister and Hidelina board member; as well as three company employees, Wafaa Abdel Rahim, Ashraf Ishaq and Fathia Ahmed Abdel Rahim.

Trial proceedings began in mid-2007 after an employee at the health ministry, Soheir El Sharkawi, blew the whistle on 200,000 defective blood bags in the ministry’s storage.

Additionally, investigations found violations in the license granted to Hidelina to provide the bags. The Ministry of Health insisted that no harm had come from the blood bags which contained what they labelled “industrial defects. Health Minister Hatem El-Gabaly testified in favor of Hidelina at the trial in December.

The verdict to exonerate the accused was issued last April.

Hidelina was accused of producing 200,000 defective blood bags ripe with bacteria and fungi that could have caused cancer and hepatitis.

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