Driton Jilta, one of nine people on trial in the organ-trafficking case, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of abusing his official position or authority and the unlawful exercise of medical activity.
“I am informed about the consequences that will follow my plea and about the punishment I’ll get,” Jilta told the court in Pristina.
The prosecution has charged seven Kosovo Albanians and two foreigners with human trafficking, organised crime and unlawful medical activities at the Medicus clinic near Pristina.
The indictment says that 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 15,000 euro for their organs.
Another 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, said he wasn’t 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 who owns the Medicus clinic, has denied the charges.
Dervishi and his son, who is also accused, declined to make final statements at the trial.
The EU rule of law mission prosecutor in the case, Jonathan Ratel, recently amended the indictment, adding four new counts of grievous bodily harm, fraud, falsification of documents and falsification of official documents.
The clinic, which was closed down in 2008 as part of the initial investigation, 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.
04 Apr 13