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For Immediate Release

Organ Trafficking Allegations in Kosovo Are Cause for Investigation

Cambridge, Mass - 12/20/2010

PHR strongly supports calls for a thorough investigation into allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo. Last week, a Council of Europe report suggested that Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci had led a ring of criminals who reportedly stole organs from prisoners of war and political rivals. The thefts allegedly occured when the Kosovo Liberation Army was fighting Serbian forces for control of the territory in 1998-1999. European Union prosecutors are currently bringing charges in a separate case of illicit kidney transplants in Kosovo.

"If true, this is a gross violation of the human rights of helpless prisoners,” said Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights, "but also the allegations of medical complicity are appalling. The idea that doctors would take organs from unwilling donors is a complete betrayal of medicine.”

The report is based partially on investigations by European Union officials and was written by Dick Marty for the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. The Council of Europe’s human rights committee also passed a resolution calling for a full investigation.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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