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Libya AIDS retrial of Bulgarian nurses to start in mid-May

[JURIST] The Libyan retrial of five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting over 400 patients, primarily children, with the HIV virus is scheduled to begin on May 11 in Tripoli, Bulgaria’s foreign ministry [official website] announced [press release, in Bulgarian] Saturday. In December Libya’s Supreme Court overturned [JURIST report] previous convictions [JURIST report] against the nurses and a Palestinian doctor, which had led to the six being sentenced to death by firing squad. The high court sent the case back to the lower court for retrial. Tripoli has suggested that compensatory damages could allow the nurses to go free, and the families of the victims have demanded $5.43 billion from a group of international donors [Sofia Echo report] trying to settle the case.

Bulgaria and its allies, including the US and the European Union, contend the nurses are innocent and maintain that their confessions were coerced through torture. The six health workers, detained since 1999, previously argued that the children were infected with the disease prior to treatment by the accused. Nine police officers and one doctor were acquitted [JURIST report] of torturing the health workers [HRW report] last year. Reuters has more. The Bulgarian News Network has local coverage.

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