News 10 Feb 16

Turkish Organ-Trafficking Suspect Gives Statement in Pristina

Kenan Demirkol, a Turkish doctor accused of organ-harvesting by the Kosovo authorities, has given a statement in Pristina in exchange of the suspension of an Interpol warrant for his arrest.

Petrit Collaku
BIRN
Pristina
Sign leading to the former Medicus clinic.

Demirkol, who is wanted in the so-called Medicus case, in which five people have already been convicted of involvement in organ-trafficking, surrendered in Pristina on January 25 to give a statement to prosecutors, his lawyer told BIRN on Wednesday.

In exchange, Demirkol asked for the removal of the Interpol warrant arrest that came into force in 2014.

In February 2013, Demirkol was due to testify via video link during the Medicus trial but declined to do so, saying that Turkish law gave him the right to refuse because he is a doctor.

Demirkol is charged with organ-trafficking, together with another Turkish doctor, Yusuf Sonmez, who remains at large.

Prosecutors allege that that a group of people brought poor donors and rich recipients to the Medicus clinic in Pristina where illegal kidney transplants were carried out and the organs sold to rich recipiemts.

Demirkol’s lawyer, Ismet Shufta, said that Demirkol arrived in Pristina on January 25 and he left for Turkey on the same day.

Shufta said that Demirkol first asked for a guarantee from EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo police and Kosovo police that he would not be arrested when he entered the country.

“He also gave guarantees that he will respond in future to all the court’s and prosecutor’s invitations,” Shufta said.

The lawyer added that Demirkol has visited Kosovo several times and knew Sonmez and other doctors at the Medicus clinic.

“Demirkol worked there at the Medicus clinic but he was there as a general surgeon. He never participated in any transplant operations. He denies all the charges,” Shufta said.

The Medicus clinic was 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.

Investigators closed down the clinic in 2008, and it has since been sold.

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Background

From Kosovo's Organ-Harvesting Controversy to Special Court

This is the sequence of events leading from the organ-trafficking allegations in Kosovo to the creation of the special court that aims to prosecute Kosovo Liberation Army crimes.

Fatmir Limaj, Kosovo's Road-Builder

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.

KLA : From Guerilla Wars to Party Plenums

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.

KLA Ran Torture Camps in 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.

The Drenica Group

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.

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