• search

Libyan retrial of foreign medics over HIV resumes

Written by: Staff
|

TRIPOLI, July 4 (Reuters) The retrial of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV resumed today, witnesses said.

The retrial, as well as questions over Libya's human rights record, have been seen as hurdles to improved relations with the West at a time when Washington is preparing to resume full diplomatic relations with Tripoli after decades of hostility.

At the previous session on June 20, Court President Mahmoud Haouissa adjourned proceedings at the request of lead defence lawyer Othman Bizanti, who said he needed more time to gather documentary evidence. It was the third postponement since the retrial began in May.

Washington has long backed Bulgaria and the European Union in saying the medics, in jail in Libya since 1999, are innocent.

At their first trial, the six were convicted of intentionally infecting 426 Libyan children with the HIV virus when they worked in a Benghazi hospital.

In December, the supreme court overturned the convictions, which had resulted in sentences of death by firing squad.

Bulgaria and its allies say the medics were tortured to make them confess, and global AIDS experts say the outbreak at the Benghazi hospital where they worked began before they arrived.

Tripoli has suggested the nurses could go free if Bulgaria pays compensation to the children and their families, who have demanded 4.4 billion euros. 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.

Around 50 of the HIV-infected children have died, fuelling popular anger in Libya, but analysts say the offer of aid may give Tripoli a face-saving opportunity to free the six.

REUTERS SRS RK1910

For Daily Alerts

For Breaking News from Oneindia
Get instant news updates throughout the day.

Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more