CAIRO: Amid the controversy surrounding the new organ transplant law, Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawy proposed using organs belonging to criminals on death row in transplant procedures.
Tantawy was reportedly referring to the 10 rapists who recently received the death sentence in Kafr El-Sheikh for kidnapping and raping a woman.
Tantawy’s suggestion did not sit well with members in the People’s Assembly.
Ahmed Omar Hashem, head of the PA’s religious affairs committee, told the press that he opposes Tantawy’s stance.
Sheikh Mohamed Hamdy Megahed, a member of the same committee, told Daily News Egypt that he is also against this proposal.
He argued that it violates basic human rights; that is, taking someone’s organs without their consent.
“People on death row are still human beings, he said.
PA member affiliated with the National Democratic Party, Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah argued that Tantawy’s proposal breaches State Council regulations pertaining to death penalties.
“No one has the right to take another person’s organs without their consent . even if this person is a criminal who is sentenced to death, Kwaitah said.
He cited an incident in 1992, where the general attorney ruled for doctors to take the organs of a person on death row. Doctors were supposed to wait until he was pronounced clinically dead and keep his organs functioning while they operate. Instead, doctors operated while he was still technically alive. Afterwards, the general attorney retracted his decision and charged the doctors with “first degree murder.
“We don’t have the right to increase the punishment on criminals more than what the court has imposed, he said.
Kwaitah had previously called on making the execution of the 10 Kafr El-Sheikh rapists open for the media.
“I am not asking that the execution to take place in a public place, I am just asking for the media to attend so that the public will be able to watch it, he said, explaining that it will set a stark example.
“God obliges us to make the punishment for this type of sin public, he said.
Controversy surrounding Tantawy’s proposal coincides with the ongoing debate in the PA centering on the definition of death – “the main obstacle the new organ transplant law is facing, as Megahed previously told Daily News Egypt.