PRISTINA, Kosovo — A Kosovo court on Thursday imprisoned two ethnic Albanians for involvement in organ harvesting.
The Pristina court international judge Francesca Fischer sentenced former urologist Lutfi Dervishi to 7½ years and a fine of 8,000 euros ($9,400). He cannot exercise his profession for two years after his prison term ends.
Sokol Hajdini, an anesthetist, was sentenced to one year in prison after it was proven that he was aware of the work and willingly took part.
International prosecutors in Kosovo have said the Medicus clinic managed by Dervishi and his son is believed to have carried out at least 23 kidney transplants in 2008 for which buyers, many from Israel, paid 80,000-100,000 euros ($94,000-117,000).
Kidney donors from Israel, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Romania and Turkey were offered the modest sum of about 10,000 euros ($11,700). Prosecutors proved that all donors were poor and that their health deteriorated after the surgeries.
Organ transplants are illegal in Kosovo.
Earlier this year an Israeli national was arrested in Cyprus. He has been wanted since 2010 both by Interpol and Russia on charges of human trafficking and intentional infliction of grave injuries. Kosovo has asked for his extradition, as has Russia. A Turkish physician wanted in the case is also at large.
A Council of Europe report in 2010 claimed that leaders of the Kosovo independence fighters were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Serbs, Roma and ethnic Albanians suspected of collaborating with the Serbs, and the harvesting and sale of their organs, during the 1998-1999 war in which some 10,000 people died and 1,700 went missing.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia hasn’t recognized it.