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Kosovo PM linked to organ trade
Wed, 15 Dec 2010 12:46:47 GMT
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Former KLA commander and current prime minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci (center) has been accused of human organ trafficking.
A European rights group has accused former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leaders of serious human rights abuses including organ and drug trafficking.

The report by the Council of Europe has named Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci as the "boss" of the criminal underworld behind the grisly trade.

Thaci was the political leader of the KLA during the Kosovo war in 1998-1999.

The Kosovo government has dismissed as "baseless and defamatory” the draft report, which was obtained by the British newspaper The Guardian.

Pristina has also issued a warning, saying it will take legal and political measures against what it called the "slanders."

The report, which is the result of a two-year-long investigation by the special rapporteur of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, is due to be published on Thursday.

It charges the KLA of secretly transferring its Serbian and Albanian prisoners from Kosovo to Albania, where they were murdered for their body parts.

Those organs were later sold on the black market to people in Canada, Germany and Israel.

The alleged crimes occurred after the Kosovo war ended in 1999.

The KLA has also been accused of involvement in heroin trade, and there is evidence that its activities in organized crime continue to the present day.

Marty is set to give his report to the legal and human rights committee of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Thursday.

The development comes as Thaci's Democratic Party (PDK) won Kosovo's parliamentary elections held on Sunday.

Kosovo opposition parties have cried fraud, claiming that the PDK has cheated.

The vote constituted the country's first parliamentary elections since it proclaimed independence in 2008.

In February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, and has so far been recognized by 68 countries, including the United States and a vast majority of the European Union.

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