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Kosovo PM may sue over organ claims

Kosovo's prime minister Hashim Thaci is planning to sue a European investigator whose report suggested he had civilian detainees killed for their kidneys when he was head of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Thaci has contacted lawyers to pursue a libel suit against Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty, said a senior Kosovo official.

Mr Marty's report suggests that Thaci was behind the alleged grisly trade of kidneys on the black market and also suggested Thaci was once the "boss" of a criminal underworld behind the alleged grisly trade. Kosovo's government branded the report as "baseless".

Thaci has not appeared in public since the report was released on Tuesday.

Mr Marty, a Swiss senator, led a Council of Europe team of investigators to Kosovo and Albania in 2009, following allegations of organ trafficking by the KLA published in a book by former UN War Crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

The 55-page report is an attempt to cast new light on the KLA, which received US backing in its fight to secure Kosovo's independence from Serbia in 1999. Mr Marty says it is an attempt to unearth alleged crimes that went unpunished in the postwar period.

His investigation found that there were a number of detention facilities in Albania, where both Kosovan opponents of the KLA and Serbs were allegedly held once the hostilities in Kosovo were over in 1999, including a "state-of-the-art reception centre for the organised crime of organ trafficking".

The report said the captives had their blood drawn and tested to help determine whether their organs would be suitable for transplant, and were examined "by men referred to as doctors" in the towns of Rripe and Fushe-Kruje.

Mr Marty said his findings were based on testimonies of "KLA insider sources" such as drivers, bodyguards, and other "fixers" involved in logistical and practical tasks, as well as "organisers", or the ringleaders behind the lucrative organ trade.

The accounts pointed to "a methodology by which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove one or more of their organs", the report said.

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