A new documentary to be shown in Kosovo next week explores the international black-market trade in human organs and the role played in it by a clinic near Pristina.
‘Tales from the Organ Trade’, an 82-minute documentary directed by Canadian film-maker Ric Esther Bienstock, includes coverage of the Medicus case, which saw five people jailed earlier this year for their involvement in illegally selling kidneys from a Kosovo clinic.
The documentary will be shown twice at the tenth annual DokuFest film festival in the town of Prizren, which starts next Saturday.
“’Tales From The Organ Trade’ is a gritty and unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the street-level brokers, the rogue surgeons, the impoverished men and women who are willing to sacrifice a slice of their own bodies for a quick payday, and the desperate patients who face the agonizing choice of obeying the law or saving their lives”, says a description of the film on the festival’s website.
The movie offers interviews with donors and recipients of illegally-traded organs, and also includes interviews with EU rule-of-law mission prosecutor in the Medicus case, Jonathan Ratel, and Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez who is wanted by Interpol over organ-trafficking in Kosovo but remains at large.
Poor people from Turkey, Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan were allegedly brought to the Medicus clinic after being assured that they would receive up to 15,000 euro for their kidneys.
Prosecutor Ratel said that transplant recipients, mainly Israelis, paid more than 70,000 euro for the kidneys.
At the end of April, a court in Pristina found the former owner of the Medicus clinic, Lutfi Dervishi, guilty of organised crime and people-trafficking, sentenced him to eight years in prison and imposed a fine of 10,000 euro.
Four other people were also convicted, and the EU rule-of law-mission subsequently launched a new investigation into the case based on evidence that emerged during the trial.