The prosecution at the trial for alleged illicit kidney-trading at Kosovo’s Medicus clinic has made new allegations of grievous bodily harm and fraud against the defendants.
“Four new counts were added to the indictment - grievous bodily harm, fraud, falsification of documents and falsification of official documents,” prosecutor Jonathan Ratel announced on Friday.
The defence has a week to analyse the new charges and respond.
The case focuses on allegations that poor donors and rich recipients were brought to the Medicus clinic near Pristina where illegal kidney transplants were carried out.
Seven Kosovo Albanians and two foreigners, Yusuf Somnez and Moshe Harel, are on trial for alleged human trafficking, organised crime and unlawful medical activities.
The clinic’s owner Lutfi Dervishi and his son Arban Dervishi will be charged with three of the new counts, the prosecution said.
According to the indictment, 30 illegal kidney transplants took place at the clinic.
Donors were allegedly lured to Kosovo with false promises that they would receive up to 15,000 euro for their kidneys.
The foreign defendants, Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez and Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen, are being tried in their absence.
According to the indictment, Sonmez is the subject of several criminal proceedings in other countries, including Turkey, for human trafficking and the illegal removal of organs.
Ratel said earlier this month that the indictment had to be changed because of significant new information from abroad and “the appalling evidence from the witnesses” in the case.
At the next hearing, the defence will be able to present proposals for new evidence or new witness.
Linn Slattengren, the defence lawyer for Medicus clinic boss Dervishi, said that his client “will decline to give a final statement” in the trial, which would have opened the way to further cross-examination.
The lawyer for another defendant, Ilir Rrecaj, indicated however that he would make a final statement.
The clinic, which was closed down in 2008 as part of the initial investigation, is also mentioned in a Council of Europe report which alleged that elements of the Kosovo Liberation Army traded the organs of prisoners during the 1999 conflict.
Here is a sequence of events leading up to the organ-trafficking charges in Kosovo and the release of the Council of Europe report.
Corruption allegations have not dented the popularity of the KLA- fighter-turned-PDK politician who has made it his mission to transform the country’s traffic arteries.
The Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, was an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group that came to the fore in the mid-1990s, demanding the unification of Albanian territories in former Yugoslavia with Albania.
The Kosovo Liberation Army maintained a network of prisons in their bases in Albania and Kosovo during and after the conflict of 1999, eyewitnesses allege. Only now are the details of what occurred there emerging.
Crime gang allegedly headed by Prime Minister Thaci is said to have run a range of mafia-like enterprises, from cigarette smuggling to trafficking in organs.