To the People

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

426 Libyan Kids Deliberately Infected With HIV

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were convicted of deliberately infecting Libian children at a Benghazi hospital. The convictions, based primarily on the medical professionals' confessions, were overturned in 2005 following allegations that the accused had been tortured and beaten into giving confessions.

The original conviction carried sentences of death by firing squad. About 50 of the HIV-positive children have died since the imprisonment of the six medical personnel in 1999.

International experts testified at the first trial, saying the outbreak of HIV at the hospital began before the accused arrived.

Tripoli has suggested the nurses could go free if Bulgaria pays compensation to the children and their families, who have demanded $5.5 billion. Bulgaria has refused to pay, but has joined the United States, the EU and Libya in agreeing to back the creation of an aid fund.