PRIŠTINA — One of nine suspects charged with illegal organ trade in the Medicus Clinic in Kosovo has pleaded guilty to illegal medical activity charges.
The Medicus Clincil, which was closed in 2008 when the investigation started, is also mentioned in Council of Europe (CoE) Special Rapporteur Dick Marty’s report on the involvement of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in trafficking of organs of kidnapped Serbs and other prisoners in 1999.
Driton Jilta, who is charged with illegal kidney trade, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to all charges.
“I have been informed about consequences of my decision to plead guilty and about the sentence I will get,” Jilta told the court.
The Prosecution charged seven Kosovo Albanians and two foreign citizens with human trafficking, organized crime and illegal medical activities in the Medicus Clinic near Priština.
According to the indictment, 30 illegal kidney transplants took place at the clinic in 2008.
Poor people from Turkey, Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan were allegedly lured to the clinic with false promises that they would receive up to EUR 15,000 for their organs.
One of the accused, Ilir Rrecaj, a former senior official at the health ministry, who is charged with abusing his official position and falsifying official documents which allegedly enabled the illegal organ transplants at the clinic, pleaded not guilty.
Rrecaj confirmed he had received a request for organ transplants from the clinic owner’s son Arban Dervishi on May 2, 2008 and said “the issue was discussed with Former Health Minister Alush Gashi and the board for licenses”, but he denied any wrongdoing during the process.
The alleged ringleader, Lutfi Dervishi, a university professor and owner of the Medicus Clinic, has denied the charges.
He told EULEX Prosecutor Jonathan Ratel earlier that “donors and receivers needed to pay EUR 8,000 for transplants”.