Albanian doctor, potentially linked to organ trade case, arrested in Pristina


Source: Blic

Lufti Dervishi, an urologist from Kosovo, has been arrested on suspicion of performing illegal kidney transplants, the Belgrade daily Blic writes

The newspaper says one witness in the investigation into the trafficking of organs of Serb prisoners from Kosovo in 1998, mentioned the doctor’s name in regards to the case.

“The witness told Serbian war crimes prosecutors that he saw doctor Lufti Dervishi at locations where it was suspected that organs had been extracted from civilian prisoners and sold later,” Blic’s source stated.

“He was now arrested with a scalpel in his hand, and it’s obvious that they have continued doing what they started doing to prisoners in 1998,” the source said.

The clinic was found after the Kosovo police questioned a Turkish citizen who aroused their suspicion because he said that he had come to Kosovo for medical treatment.

“He came on October 31 to Kosovo with a letter from his doctor stating that he would be treated for heart problems in Kosovo. A routine check at the airport confirmed that he had no money, which aroused police suspicions. He only had that doctor’s note and he looked suspicious. The police were waiting for him at the airport two days ago as he was heading home,” Kosovo Police Service (KPS) officials said.

The KPS added that the suspect was “visibly tired” when he arrived at the airport to catch a flight back to Istanbul.

The suspect was arrested, after which a doctor confirmed that he had had a kidney removed.

KPS spokesman Veton Elshani said that “the MEDICUS clinic is not registered for surgical operations but only for standard urological check-ups.”

Drugs were found at the clinic that had passed their use-by date, along with blood in plastic bags bearing no kind of identification. According to reports in Priština, several other people have also been arrested in the operation.

Pristina papers reported on Friday  that Kosovo Health Minister Alush Gashi has dismissed Ministry Secretary Ilir Rexhaj who is suspected of involvement in illegal transplatations of human organs at the MEDICUS private clinic in Pristina.

Before Rexhaj was dismissed from office, he was questioned by the police and detained by decision of the prosecutor. Rexhaj issued a work permit to the MEDICUS private clinic, the media said.

Elshani did not want to comment on the Blic story that Dervishi was tied to the trafficking of organs from kidnapped Serbs in Kosovo, but said that international officials were involved in the investigation and that they would check all leads.

The Serbian war crimes prosecution has uncovered a neuropsychiatric hospital in Burrel in Albania where Kosovo Liberation Army doctors extracted organs from kidnapped Serbs, Roma and Albanians for re-sale between 1998 and March 2001.

Around 300 kidnapped Serbs, Roma and non-Albanians from Kosovo perished in northern Albania, before their organs were sold on, says the War Crimes Prosecution.

Prosecution spokesman Bruno Vekaric told weekly Nedeljni Telegraf that it had been revealed that a human body could be sold on the black market for EUR 2mn, that kidneys fetched between EUR 15,000 and 100,000, while prices for a liver or heart could reach as much as EUR 1mn.

“It’s awful that I should have to say something like that, but we’re looking at a lucrative business that outdoes drug trafficking in terms of profit,” he said.

According to the prosecution, illegal operations were performed in Building 320, 20km from the “yellow house” mentioned by former Hague Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

“Building 320 is a neuro-psychiatric clinic. We believe that surgical operations were carried out there on civilians, as the conditions existed for such a thing. There was a prisoner camp there, as well as a KLA camp,” said the spokesman.

He said that prisoners were prepared for operations inside the “yellow house”, but removed from there whenever international humanitarian missions like the Red Cross came by.

A large quantity of medical equipment was discovered inside, and certain reports contain detailed inventories of what was discovered.

“It differs markedly from what the Albanian prosecutor has been saying, who shut the case back in 2005,” said Vekaric.

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