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Libya court postpones verdict in Bulgarian AIDS case

[JURIST] The Libyan Supreme Court Tuesday postponed its verdict until January 31 for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who had received death sentences following their convictions for deliberately infecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus [JURIST report] as part of an experiment to find a cure for AIDS. The medics appealed their death sentence [JURIST report] earlier this year, and the court has already postponed its ruling [JURIST report] on the death sentences once. The European Union and the US have criticized the trial for failing to meet international standards of due process. Bulgarian Justice Minister Georgi Petkanov said Monday he hoped the Supreme Court would order a retrial and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said relations with Libya [JURIST news archive] hinge on the fate of the Bulgarian nurses. In last year's trial [JURIST report], French Professor Luc Montagnier who was the co-discover of the HIV virus, testified that the infection had spread in the children's hospital before the Bulgarians nurses began their contracts there. Amnesty International has reported that the five women were forced to confess [JURIST report] by torture through electric shocks and beatings. Two of the nurses said they had been raped, according to Amnesty. Nine police officers and one doctor were acquitted [JURIST report], however, of torturing the medics. Seif el-Islam Gaddafi [Wikipedia profile], son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has said that the Libyan government will not execute the nurses and doctor [JURIST report] and it was reported earlier this month that Libya will abolish capital punishment [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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