China: Medical concern: the use of organs from executed prisoners

AI has long been concerned about the widespread use of the death penalty in China and at the lack of safeguards for prisoners. This action focuses on the practice of retrieving organs for transplantation from executed prisoners, which is reported to be commonplace in China today. Although official regulations require the consent of the prisoner or prisoner’s family prior to the removal of tissue from the body, numerous sources report that this consent is rarely, if ever, obtained. AI is concerned about the involvement of health professional in this process, both in the medical investigation of prisoners before execution and in the retrieval of organs afterwards. AI concludes that this system of organ procurement takes place within a judicial process which fails to meet international standards, raising concern that, in some cases, the imposition and timing of the death penalty may be influenced by the need for organs for transplantation.

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