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War Crimes

Confusion Erupts Over Kosovo Organ-Trafficking Clinic

by Liridona Hyseni

EU prosecutors wanted to confiscate the Kosovo clinic which was at the centre of an illegal kidney-trading ring, but a man claiming to be its new owner says he has bought it legally.

As the EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX continues to investigate organ-trafficking at the Medicus clinic near Pristina after a series of convictions earlier this year, confusion has erupted about the current ownership of the building where the crimes took place in 2008.

clinic_in_kosovo

EULEX prosecutor Jonathan Ratel said in April that he had asked the court to “confiscate the building, the property around it, medical equipment and everything inside”.

But EULEX told BIRN that this has not happened yet: “No decision has been taken yet on the confiscation of the Medicus building,” said EULEX spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi.

Lutfi Dervishi, former clinic boss of the Medicus clinic, who was convicted of organ-trafficking, said in April that he sold the clinic in autumn 2012.

Dervishi’s defence lawyer, Linn Slattengren, also said in April that new owners were running it. “Apparently they have been licensed as a new clinic and new doctors are operating in it,” Slattengren said.

The man who said he was the new owner of the clinic, Fidaim Imeri, told BIRN that he had consulted the court and the municipality of Gracanica, where Medicus is located, before buying it.

He insisted that the building was not confiscated. “Otherwise I wouldn’t buy it,” he said.

“I have presented [to the court] the necessary documentation on property, the contract and the way the money has been transferred… every three months, 30,000 euro was paid,” he added.

The final decision on the clinic’s ownership is expected to be taken by the basic court in Pristina, but it is not yet clear when this will happen.

In April, a court convicted five Kosovo men of participating in a criminal operation that removed and sold human kidneys at the Medicus clinic.

Poor people from Turkey, Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan were allegedly brought to the clinic after being assured that they would receive up to 15,000 euro for their kidneys.

The EU rule of law mission prosecutor in the case said that transplant recipients, mainly Israelis, paid more than 70,000 euro for the kidneys.

Two foreign suspects in the case – Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez and Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen – are still listed as wanted by Interpol but remain at large.

After the convictions, EULEX said it was launching another probe because of evidence that came to light during the trial.

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