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EU Kosovo court issues prison sentences in organ trafficking case

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) [official website] on Monday sentenced [press release] five men to prison for their roles in an organ trafficking syndicate. Lufti Dervishi and his son Arban Devishi were found guilty of "Trafficking in Persons and Organised Crime." Sokol Hajdini, Islam Bytyqi and Sulejman Dulla were found guilty of charges of "Grievous Bodily Harm." The sentences ranged from one to eight years, and Bytyqi and Dulla will receive suspended sentences. The group was accused of enticing poor people in the country to give kidneys in exchange for payment [AP report]. The donors testifying at trial were from countries outside of Kosovo, and some did not receive the compensation they were promised. Of the original seven people indicted [JURIST report] in the case, two were freed after the proceedings.

Prior organ trafficking schemes have been investigated in Kosovo. Moshe Harel was arrested [JURIST report] in May 2012 in connection with the organ trafficking operation in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], according to EULEX. A report [text] authored by Council of Europe (COE) [official website] member Dick Marty [BBC profile] detailed how criminals harvested the organs of dead civilian detainees and sold the organs on the black market for overseas transplants.That organ trafficking scandal received more attention after Marty's report implicated [JURIST report] Thaci [official profile] in the scheme. In August 2011 a US prosecutor began investigating Thaci's role in the scandal [JURIST report]. In February 2011 UN Special Representative to Kosovo Lamberto Zannier requested [JURIST report] that the UN Security Council [official website] open an independent investigation into alleged incidents of organ trafficking.

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