Pristina – The Israeli ringleader of a global gang of organ traffickers has been arrested in Cyprus, Kosovan police say.
Moshe Harel is suspected of organising dozens of illegal kidney transplants at the Medicus clinic in the capital Pristina in 2008 and is the man being held, according to local media.
“The man was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus following an international arrest warrant” from Pristina, said Kosovan police spokesperson Baki Kelani.
The authorities have been looking for Harel for almost a a decade for exploiting victims, often recruited from poor areas in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, by promising €15 000 for their organs.
Recipients, mainly Israelis, would pay up to €100 000 for the transplant.
The organ trafficking network came to light in 2008 after a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport after having a kidney removed.
Police raided the Medicus clinic, which shut down following the scandal.
An EU-led court in Kosovo sentenced five Kosovan doctors in 2013 to up to eight years in prison for organ trafficking in the country.
Donors, whose organs were illegally removed, were left without proper medical care and treated “like waste,” prosecutors said at the time of the trial.
The Supreme Court of Kosovo annulled the verdict in 2016 and ordered a new trial, which is ongoing.