You are previewing “Price of Life” due May 2019
Shortly after the Balkan conflict ended,in 1999 rumours started to find their way into the global media, rumours and allegations that were so grotesque in nature they were immediately dismissed by almost everyone who heard them.
These rumours identified a very remote farmhouse in the Albanian village of Rripë, Eight kilometres south of Burell near the river Mat, it was known as the “Yellow House”, This building was referred to during allegations of murder and the trafficking of human organs. It has been conservatively estimated that the number of victims could have been as many as 300. The victims were presumed to be Serbian prisoners of war killed by rogue members of the the Kosovo Liberation Army KLA.
The victims were chosen from a group of combatants and civilians who had been taken prisoner or kidnapped by the KLA and taken to locations in northern and central Albania
The crimes were allegedly committed with the involvement of several KLA commanders, the victims were all taken to a makeshift clinic near Tirana, in Albania, executed and then their viable organs removed.
Investigations by The United Nations (UN) war crimes prosecutors investigated the rumours in between 2002, and 2004, but their conclusions were that insufficient evidence could be provided to prove that any form of human organ harvesting had occurred.
However A report by Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty to the Council of Europe (CoE) had uncovered what they said was “credible, convergent indications” of an illegal trade in human organs during the previous decade, that included the murder of Serbian prisoners who were killed exclusively for this purpose. However, senior sources in the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and many members of the European Parliament have voiced serious doubts about the report and its foundations, believing Marty had failed to provide “any convincing evidence”
In 2008 Carla Del Ponte, a former chief prosecutor for the international Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was accused of spreading unsubstantiated rumours and allegations. The allegations were that, Albanian criminal gangs, together with members of the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) had been sampling human tissue and blood of kidnapped ethnic Serbs who had been captured during the conflict. The intention was to provide live human organs for transplant to the highest bidder.
Carla claimed to have several witnesses, that included former KLA fighters, and members of the ICTY “International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia” who had further claimed to have “personally made an organ delivery” to an Albanian airport for transport abroad. This was later confirmed together with other evidence collated under difficult circumstances and at great personal risk to some of those individuals such as the unexplained death or straight forward murder of others daring to making such claims. with other evidence gathered by the tribunal, that was either lost or destroyed.
In April 2011 an unnamed UN representative in Kosovo, confirmed that they were aware of well organised criminal activity, but had absolutely no knowledge of human organ trafficking.” Dismissing the accusations made by Del Ponte as without credence. However the question still remained unanswered was there a Blood market for the extraction and transplanting of human organs?
This aside an international arrest warrant was issued by the Hague for the arrest of Doctor Yusuf Ercin Sonmez, a Turkish surgeon who was alleged to be the doctor responsible for the organ removal and transplantation.
These rumours still continue to circulate and accusations continue to be made. To date not one single person has been successfully prosecuted or even brought to trial.
However the question that still has no definitive answer is, was there a Blood market for the extraction and transplanting of human organs?
Primrose Hill in London, there is a lot of money here but not always the right kind.
Of the many Georgian houses many have been converted to commercial enterprise, and occupied by the sort of business that wants to be discreet, but have a veneer of respectability. Nestled among these character buildings there is a small and very well presented private members club.
The brass plaque to the right of the door tells visitors ‘that entry is limited to members and invited guests only’, there is no business name just the building number, ‘Fourteen’.
Access is through a heavy oak double door finished with black iron nail heads, and a single black metal door knocker fashioned to look like a coil of rope. At the top of seven stone steps standing like sentinels to the left and right of the entrance door, are two heavy-set individuals with cropped hair, high foreheads, and square jaw lines watching the street in front of them. They have no radio, or phone, just a radio clicker carried by one of the two. A simple push button to tell someone inside when the door should be opened.
What made these men different from the hundreds of door supervisors and bouncers standing outside clubs and pubs up and down the country was not immediately apparent. Only when you were close enough to see would you notice they both wore black Armani two-piece suits, immaculate white shirts, and matching ties with red on green diagonal stripes. Only a close inspection of their footwear well worn and highly polished combat boots might give you some indication of their real purpose. These men were soldiers battle, hardened soldiers, serving a master who commanded their absolute obedience and paid them well for it.
Number Fourteen was a gentleman’s club if you could get through the front doors you were surrounded by heavy claret drapes and more dark wood that framed the entrance to the members lounge. Thick carpet elegant tables and heavy leather furniture perfectly positioned provide discreet conversations between its members. Refreshments, were served to order by a nominated stewardess in a simple uniform of black pencil skirt, white blouse and black patent court shoes, if you were allowed to venture further into Number Fourteen you would find several gaming tables controlled by croupiers in similar uniforms a tellers window in one of the walls would exchange cash or credit cards for chips, the lowest value being one hundred pounds. Deeper within its enclave Number Fourteen had private rooms, their only purpose was to satisfy the carnal perversions of its members any of which could be served at a price.
In the basement of Number Fourteen were working offices furnished and decorated with the same care and attention as the club itself. It was from the largest of these rooms that Mehmet controlled his operation. It was in this room behind the laminated glass desk, the short man eased himself back into the chair while looking at the four girls standing in front of him, each one not much more than eighteen years old. They stood in line fidgeting nervously as the short man rose from the comfort of his leather chair and moved to the front of his desk, resting himself on the front edge to face the quartet of girls as he looked them up and down, assessing each of them in the same studious manner that a breeder might choose a thoroughbred horse, or a collector buying work of fine art.
“Have they been broken?” He asked of the heavy set individual stood next to them.
Ten minutes ago he had been ushering them from the comfort of a Lexus diplomat, up the seven steps from the street, between the Armani suits, and through the heavy oak doors without pausing. The lift had taken them down two levels to the rich red carpet of the short man’s domain and into his office.
“No Mehmet they have not been broken.”
The question, a veiled reference to their virginity. Mehmet’s heavy-lidded eyes, slits in his chubby face, the blue of the iris intense, a little over five feet seven with a weight lifter’s physique, his hair black with a tight curl heavy in grease and brushed straight back to cover the collar of his black open neck shirt. Three days stubble grey, full and shaped to enhance the contours of his face and neck, with the aroma of an expensive cologne, he commanded respect.
“Passports,” he asked in Gheg Kosovan the accent thick and heavy, Each of the girls dutifully removed documents from hand luggage handing them over as he compared each of the girls to their individual photographs.
“You know why you are here?” He asked they each nodded
“Show me your tattoo“
Each girl turned their left foot displaying a fresh precise tattoo of blood group and followed by six numbers.
He smiled more to himself than at the four nervous young girls standing before him.
“While you are here we will make money, I will keep you safe and treat you well. Money will go to your families and in three years time you will go back home, as wealthy women.”
He paused while his comments were understood by each of the girls looking for some kind of acknowledgement.
“While you are here, you will meet wealthy and important people” he continued ”they will ask of you many things, this you know yes.”
The four young girls giggled nervously as they nodded their understanding.
“These things they ask of you will only happen here, where I can protect you. You are young women in a foreign country, bad things can happen. Do you understand?” Mehmet paused as his words resonated in their young minds.
“you will be shown your rooms by madam who will take you shopping and buy you nice things tomorrow, now you eat well and rest.
Mehmet returned to his desk and pushed a button on the desk telephone, a heavy velvet curtain opened, a woman in her late thirties showing all the signs of good living an expensive wardrobe and a strong body, the benefits of many hours in a gym. With jet black hair and little but expertly applied makeup giving her features a sharp, severe almost sinister appearance and a scarlet dress cut to give attention to her ample cleavage, finished with black stockings and patent stilettos, her only jewellery being a simple gold rope chain with the numeral one set with diamonds that hung between her breasts.
With a look, she invited the girls to join her, herding them with a smile as false as her breasts along the corridor from where she had just appeared.
The four young girls made their way excitedly through the door into a world they could not even begin to understand, to a life that for some would change forever.
As the door closed behind the girls Mehmet raised the remote control on his desk pointed it at the wall to open the bank of TV screens that gave various views of the gaming tables, as the images changed offering different views Mehmet scrolling through rested his finger on the intercom deliberating his decision to push, decision made he issued an instruction moments later the main door opened three men entered, two were wearing the same uniform as those on the front door the dishevelled individual half walking half carried between them had no jacket and no shoes Mehmet invited him to sit in the chair opposite his desk.
“Do we make money?”
“Do I not treat you well? You have good clothes, you live well and enjoy the flesh of beautiful women”
“Why do you steal from me and your family” he gestured to the two men who had brought him in.
“We are very careful about our business it works well and everyone goes home rich and happy you know this, yes?”
“Then why I must teach you why we do things this way.”
Mehmet walked around to the front of his desk and looked at the man seated before him taking his head between the palms of his hands as if to offer some form of absolution for the sin he had committed brushing his thumbs across his eyelids closing them down taking away the light, he would never see again. Two powerful thumbs pressed against the soft tissue of his eyes breaking through the eyelids and bursting the organs from their sockets. Dragging both hands across his victims cheeks catching the two dangling orbs between his index and middle fingers yanking them away and pushing them into his victims screaming mouth, pinching his victims nostrils together between powerful fingers while massaging his throat until he swallowed. Screaming in agony he knew what would happen next pleading for his life, and screaming for mercy, none came he heard the door open and the fall of footsteps as fifteen men all wearing Armani suits and immaculate white shirts with green and red ties came into the room
“This man stole from his family he stole from you and your family he pays the price.”
Two of the fifteen men carried the screaming man down to the basement. Number fourteen was heated by a very efficient solid fuel furnace, at a certain temperature the human body renders to fat and becomes a source of combustible fuel the man with no eyes was never spoken of again.