Lawyer: Verdict against Kyiv's transplant surgeons could be given by end of 2012
The trial in the case of Ukrainian doctors from the Shalimov National Institute of Surgery and Transplantology (Kyiv), who are accused of performing illegal organ transplants, is being delayed, but the defense team hopes that the verdict could be expected by the end of this year.
"Less than half of the witnesses and 19 of the 25 victims have currently been questioned at the court hearing. People do not appear in court, and the police are not forcing them to attend court hearings. If the sessions continue to be postponed, we will demand that the court stop the questioning and proceed to pleadings at the end of November. And we hope that the court will bring in a verdict by the end of this year," Liudmyla Mnushkina, a lawyer for surgeon Vladyslav Zakordonets, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine newspaper.
The doctor himself said in an interview that he had return to work immediately after his release from prison.
"I could not sit at home doing nothing – as I did nothing in prison for two years. So I started performing surgery on the second day [after being released from prison]," Zakordonets said.
According to the surgeon, his schedule is currently very packed, and, in addition, he has to appear in court twice a week.
"There's now a break in the meeting, until November 13, so there is time to work," he said.
Director of the Shalimov Institute of Surgery and Transplantology Yuri Poliachenko, in turn, said that the scandal with illegal organ transplants had affected the image of the institute, which now has to restore its confidence.
As reported, three transplant surgeons from the Shalimov Institute (Kyiv) were charged under Article 149 of the Criminal Code (human trafficking or other illegal agreement on the transfer of people). According to police, Kyiv's doctors were part of a criminal group, whose members have long been engaged in trafficking people from Ukraine to Azerbaijan. The group's leader was an Israeli citizen, without a medical education. The doctors were in custody during the investigation.
According to investigators, 15 of the 25 operations were performed in Azerbaijan, while the rest were carried out in Ecuador and Kosovo. Two operations were performed at the Shalimov Institute.
In October 2011, the prosecutor's office in Kyiv completed the investigation and submitted the criminal case to court.
In July 2012, the Pechersky District Court of Kyiv changed the measure of restraint against three doctors from the Shalimov Institute from arrest to bail under a petition lodged by the defendants.