Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 23 July 2019

Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.


Three Turkish soldiers killed in clash with Kurdish militants

Updated 22 August 2019

Three Turkish soldiers killed in clash with Kurdish militants

  • The Turkish soldiers were guarding state energy company Turkish Petroleum
  • The Kurdish militants were spotted by a drone in the same area earlier
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Three Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash with Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey near the borders with Syria and Iraq, the local governor’s office said on Thursday.
Three militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were “neutralized” in the fighting, the Sirnak governor’s office said in a written statement.
It said the soldiers were maintaining security for state energy company Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) near the town of Silopi in Sirnak when the clash broke out on Wednesday.
The militants had previously been spotted by a drone in the same area, it said.
The PKK, designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.