14 Jan 2011

Doctor in court on illegal organ transplant charges

5:32 pm on 14 January 2011

A Turkey doctor involved in illegal organ transplants in Kosovo two years ago has been arrested and bailed in his homeland.

Yusuf Sonmez was arrested in Istanbul after he was charged along with eight others by EU prosecutors in Kosovo late last year.

Charges against them include human organ trafficking and the unlawful exercise of medical activities.

Dr Sonmez is said to have previously denied organ trafficking.

EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel described him as a "key surgical participant" in operations performed at a private clinic on the outskirts of the Kosovan capital Pristina.

A number of other suspects in the Medicus case were arrested earlier in Kosovo. All pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, some 20 foreign nationals were recruited in 2008 to sell their kidneys with false promises of payment.

They were reportedly promised up to 14,500 euros, while recipients were required to pay between 80,000 and 100,000 euros.

The donors are said to have come from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey.

AFP reports the Medicus clinic was shut down in 2008 after a young Turkish citizen collapsed at Kristina airport after having a kidney removed for a transplant to an Israeli citizen.