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2 doctors among 5 convicted of organ transplant trafficking in Kosovo

April 30, 2013 at 7:57 AM   |   Comments

PRISTINA, Kosovo, April 30 (UPI) -- Five people were convicted of running a trafficking network that lured poor people to Kosovo to sell their organs for use in wealthy transplant recipients.

Two European Union judges and one Kosovar judge delivered their ruling Monday in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, in a case special prosecutor Jonathan Ratel hailed as landmark because doctors were among those convicted, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Lutfi Dervishi, a urologist and director of the clinic at the core of the trafficking ring, was sentenced to eight years in prison, while Dr. Sokol Hajdini, the clinic's chief anesthesiologist, drew a three-year prison sentence.

Dervishi's son, Arban Dervishi, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison, while two other defendants received one-year suspended sentences. Two defendants were acquitted.

"The sole and driving motive for this exploitation of the poor and the indigent was the opportunity for obscene profit and human greed," Ratel said. "In every sense this was a cruel harvest of the poor."

Lutfi Dervishi was convicted of organized crime, trafficking in persons and co-perpetration charges, Tanjug news agency reported.

Besides the prison sentences, the Dervishis were fined and Lufti Dervishi was barred from practice for two years, Tanjug said.

The indictment said traffickers promised payments of up to $26,000 to poor people in Turkey, Moldova and Russia to lure them to Kosovo and donate an organ that would be transplanted into a wealthy recipient.

Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez and Israeli citizen Moshe Harel were tried in absentia, Tanjug said. The indictment indicated the ring's leaders were Lutfi Dervishi, Sonmez and Harel.

The indictment indicated at least 30 illegal kidney transplants were performed at the clinic.

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