EU justice delays decision on Kosovo organ trade case
(PRISTINA) - EU judges in Kosovo have delayed a decision on whether to try seven people, including a doctor dubbed the "Turkish Frankenstein", on organ trafficking charges, an official said Monday.
"The judge needs up to an additional 15 days to issue the decision on the Medicus case because the case is considered very complex and voluminous and includes a number of defendants," European rule of law mission (EULEX) spokesman Blerim Krasniqi told AFP.
A decision is now expected before February 5.
The judge of the European Union rule of law mission EULEX has been looking into the case against seven suspects who face charges of trafficking human organs, organised crime and the unlawfully practicing medicine.
There is an initial indictment but for the case to go ahead that document must be confirmed by the judge who also has the power to refuse it or turn it back to the prosecutors for further investigation.
The charges revolve around the Medicus Clinic in Pristina, which was shut down in 2008 after a police probe was launched when a young Turkish citizen collapsed at the airport after having a kidney removed for a transplant to an Israeli man.
Among the suspects is a former health secretary who had issued a licence to the clinic although Kosovo law forbids organ transplants.
Another suspect is Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez, dubbed the Turkish Frankenstein by Kosovo media, who was briefly held in Turkey at the request of the Kosovo authorities earlier this month.
According to the provisional indictment victims were recruited from poor areas across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They were promised about 15,000 euros (19,440 dollars) for their organs, while recipients would pay up to 100,000 euros for an organ.
The 3,000-member EULEX was launched in December 2008 to enforce the rule of law in Kosovo and supervise its police, customs and judiciary.
EULEX has the power to step in and take on cases that the local judiciary and police are unable to handle because of their sensitive nature.
The hearings in the case came as a Council of Europe report has alleged that Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci and other senior commanders of the ethnic Albanian guerrillas were involved in organised crime and organ trafficking during and after the 1998-1999 war with Serbia.
In his report, due to be discussed by the council Tuesday, Marty also raises the Medicus case, saying it is "closely related" to the atrocities he describes.
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