Libyan HIV Infection case becomes EU wide affair

At second instance a Libyan court sentenced five Bulgarian nurses to death. The healthcare workers are accused of allegedly infecting more than 400 children in Libya with HIV through contaminated blood products. Now Bulgaria will bring charges against 11 Libyan police officers for torturing the nurses into confessing that crime, that they allegedly did not commit.

Photo: Libyan HIV Infection case becomes  EU wide affair
The Libyan HIV Infection affair has become a highly sensible matter across Europe. The European Parliament recently called on European Union member states to review their trade relations with Lybia and urged the country to release the medical workers. And during the course of an African Union summit, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi discussed the affair with Lybian Leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Due to this increasing pressure, the Libyan government said in a statement to a Bulgarian newspaper that Libya proposed a road map with solutions that are satisfying all parties including the parents, the Libyan government, the Bulgarian side and the EU. This road map, discussed with the foreign ministers of Germany and France, calls for “substantial compensation for the families and the release of the Libyan officer who is in a Scottish jail for the Lockerbie bombing”.
The delicate story began in May 2004 when the nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death for allegedly infecting children at Al Fateh Children´s Hospital through contaminated blood products. Furthermore they were ordered to pay $ 1 million to the affected families. The convicted healthcare workers claimed their innocence and said that Libyan police officers forced them to confess and tortured them during interrogations. In 2005, the Libyan Supreme Court overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial in a lower court. Last month this court confirmed the former decision and again charged the five people to death.
Concerning the police officials, a Libyan court acquitted nine of them for torturing the five nurses and the doctor. According to the lawyer representing the five nurses, the woman now have been accused of slandering the police officers with the torture claims and that they will be questioned in February again. Bulgarian chief prosecutor Boris Velchev said that nobody in Bulgaria has any doubts that the nurses really were tortured and that there are evidences confirming that.


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