Police arrest Israeli organ smuggling ‘mastermind’

Picture shows the Medicus Clinic on the outskirts of Pristina, which was used by Moshe Harel, an Israeli ringleader of a global gang of organ traffickers, to organize dozens of illegal kidney transplants. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Police arrest Israeli organ smuggling ‘mastermind’

PRISTINA: The Israeli ringleader of a global gang of organ traffickers has been arrested in Cyprus, Kosovan police said on Saturday.
Moshe Harel is suspected of organizing 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 suspect whose initials are MH was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus following an international arrest warrant” from Pristina, Kosovan police spokesman Baki Kelani told AFP.
Harel has been hunted by the authorities for almost a decade for exploiting victims, often recruited from poor areas in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, by promising €15,000 ($18,000) 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 following the scandal.
In 2013, an EU-led court in Kosovo sentenced five Kosovan doctors 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.
The indictment named Harel as the trafficking network’s mastermind, while Turkish doctor Yusuf Ercin Sonmez — labelled by Kosovo media as the “Turkish Frankenstein” and still on the run — was suspected of performing the transplants at the clinic.


Several feared dead in fire at Japan animation studio

Updated 18 July 2019
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Several feared dead in fire at Japan animation studio

  • The fire at the Kyoto Animation studio injured more than 30 people
  • Police have taken into custody a man who poured what appeared to be gasoline around the studio

TOKYO: Several people are feared dead after a fire at an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto on Thursday and police are investigating a possible arson attack, authorities and local media reported.
The fire at the Kyoto Animation studio injured more than 30 people, 10 of them seriously, and one person has been confirmed dead, a spokesman for the Kyoto City Fire Department said.
Several people were confirmed dead at the site, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing police. A Kyoto police spokesman was unable to immediately confirm the report when contacted by Reuters.
Police have taken into custody a man who poured what appeared to be gasoline around the studio, NHK said.
The studio produces the “Sound! Euphonium” series and its “Free! Road to the World — The Dream” movie is due for release this month.