Five convictions for Kosovo organ trafficking

Michael Cook
4 May 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Five people have been convicted of organ trafficking in Kosovo by the European Union court which runs the legal system in the quasi-independent territory. The controversial case ended with a jail term of 8 years for a prominent urologist in Pristina, Lutfi Dervishi, for "organised crime and human trafficking".

His son Arban was sentenced to seven years and three months. The other three received terms of between one and three years. EU prosecutors hope to charge 8 more suspects with organ trafficking.

The charges all relate to transplants done in 2008. The donors were recruited from eastern European and Central Asian countries with fees of about 15,000 Euros. The recipients, mostly Israelis, paid 100,000 Euros. The donors "were cast adrift after the removal of organs without proper medical care or any medical attention, like waste," EU prosecutor Johnathan Ratel told the media.

The case has international ramifications. The EU prosecutors were unable to extradite two of the main suspects in the Medicus case (named after the clinic where transplants took place), a Turkish transplant surgeon, Yusuf Sonmez, and the alleged mastermind, an Israeli named Moshe Harel.

The Serbian media has covered the case closely and has highlighted sensational allegations that Kosovar gangsters with links to high government officials sold organs from Serb prisoners of war during the 1990s. Kosovo and Albania have hotly denied these claims.