Published On: Sun, Jan 7th, 2018

Cyprus police arrest Israeli Moshe Harel, ‘ringleader’ of global organ trafficking ring

Police in Cyprus have arrested an Israeli man described as the “ringleader” of a world-wide organ trafficking network that operated out of the tiny Balkan country of Kosovo several years ago.

Identified as Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen, who was luring donors from eastern Europe, Turkey and the former Soviet Union countries to Kosovo, paying 12,000 euros ($14,500) for a kidney and then selling them back to Israelis (mostly, per police) for as much as 100,000 euros per implant.

“Based on an international arrest warrant the suspect M.H. was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus,” said police spokesman Baki Kelani. “He has been a wanted person since 2010.”

Moshe Harel photo supplied by Cyprus authoriries

Israeli police arrested Harel in 2012 in a related investigation but he was never extradited to Kosovo because the two countries don’t have diplomatic relations. Kosovo and Russia have issued warrants for Harel’s arrest.

The trafficking ring operated out of the Medicus clinic,  which has since been shut down, on a residential road on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.

“Based on an international arrest warrant the suspect M.H. was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus. He has been a wanted person since 2010,” police spokesman Baki Kelani told media sources.

The scandal came to light by accident in 2008 when a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport, visibly in pain after having his kidney removed. The clinic was run by urologist Lutfi Dervishi. He was convicted of participating in organized crime and organ trafficking and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Dervishi’s son Arban was convicted of the same charges in 2013 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Both men went into hiding.

All told, five Kosovan doctors were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for organ trafficking. The donors, whose organs were illegally removed, were left without proper medical care and treated “like waste,” prosecutors said at the time of the trial.

But Kosovo’s Supreme Court annulled the convictions in 2016 and ordered a retrial of those convicted — that trial is ongoing.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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