organ transplant 88.
(photo credit: )
Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel's leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul. The surgeon was reportedly taken into custody following a firefight at one of the hospitals, the reason for which was unknown, in which five people were reportedly killed.
Shapira's attorney, Yair Skelsky, said that he did not know why his client had been arrested.
"He has never committed any crime related to organ trafficking, or any other crime," the lawyer said. "Not now and not in this case. [Shapira] has never been tried or convicted."
"All of Professor Shapira's actions were done to save lives," Skelsky said.
A kidney transplant patient told Channel 10 that the operations Shapira arranged were "not permitted."
Channel 10 said that Shapira had been investigated in the past for alleged involvement in organ donations from live donors, but that the investigation had been closed.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed the report, and said that Israel's consuls in Istanbul and Ankara were working to assist Shapira.