Libya HIV case: New hope for five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor
The Supreme Court of Libya on Sunday ruled that the Benghazi HIV outbreak case be returned to a local court. In this case, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death in May 2004 on charges of intentionally infecting more than 400 children with AIDS. The medical workers were appealing the sentence.
At some point of the trial, the medics were accused by the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, of taking orders from the CIA and the Israeli secret service, Mossad. For their part, the nurses have called expert witnesses, including Professor Luc Montaignier, the French scientist who discovered HIV, the Aids virus, in 1983, who concluded the Libyan case was an epidemic caused by poor hygiene at the hospital.
Since they were arrested in February 1999, the suspects described how their signed confessions, the prosecutor's best evidence, were extracted through months of torture.
The spokesman of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Dimitar Tsanchev reacted that Sunday's decision by the Libyan Supreme Court is a "positive sign." According to Tsnachev, the court has taken into account the arguments of the defense. "The decision is an important step ahead," Tsnachev said.