The first indictment in a case involving organ trafficking in Kosovo was filed by the Kosovo Special Prosecution, together with EULEX
The Kosovo Special Prosecution Office filed an indictment in October against seven people -- including doctors and a former health ministry official -- for trafficking in human organs, organised crime and the unlawful exercise of medical activity.
Pristina media report that the confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (December 14th).
The charges are related to the Medicus Clinic in Pristina, which was closed in 2008 by UNMIK and Kosovo police after a months-long investigation. The health ministry confirmed at that time that the clinic had no license to work. But later, the clinic produced a license that had been issued, allowing them to perform organ transplants.
There was one small problem: the Health Law in Kosovo forbids the transplantation of organs. Health Secretary Ilir Rrecaj was sacked for having signed the license. At that time, two well-known doctors were arrested, including Lutfi Dervishi.
Police consider the case against the seven part of a transnational organised crime network. One of the doctors charged, Yusuf Ercin Sonmez, is a Turkish citizen labelled by the press as the "Turkish Frankenstein".
He has been barred from practicing medicine in Turkey and has been involved in organ trafficking in many countries, including Turkey, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Sonmez and Dervishi performed the operations. Working with them was an Israeli doctor, Hoshe Harel, who was responsible for recruiting the "donors".
The charges state that the victims were recruited in other countries with the promise of substantial payment for their organs, mainly kidneys. They were then transported to Kosovo for the operation.
An organ sale price was no more than 14,000 euros, but the purchase price ranged from 80,000 to 100,000 euros. The victims were low income people of various nationalities from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Turkey and Russia.
EULEX Justice spokesperson Kristiina Herodes told the SETimes that the Medicus case is the only one under the authority of EULEX prosecutors related to organ trafficking in Kosovo.
Two of the suspects are the subject of Interpol arrest warrants. The trafficking network came to light in November 2008 after a young Turkish citizen, whose kidney had been removed in the Medicus clinic for transplant to an Israeli citizen, was found on his way home and required urgent medical assistance.
The health ministry did not respond after the charges were sent to the court, even though a former senior official is among the accused.