Libya AIDS retrial of Bulgaria nurses resumes with prosecution testimony

[JURIST] The retrial [BBC Q/A] of five Bulgarian nurses [JURIST report] and one Palestinian doctor accused of infecting more than 400 Libyan patients, primarily children, with HIV resumed Tuesday in Tripoli. The court heard testimony from three prosecution witnesses - parents of infected children - who identified the defendants as the medical workers who infected their children. Judge Mahmoud al-Huweissa then adjourned the trial for the fourth time, until July 25, when the defense will call witnesses. Al-Huweissa adjourned the trial in June [JURIST report] because the prosecution and defense both needed more time to prepare evidence and witness lists, even after he postponed the retrial in May [JURIST report] because the lawyers lacked the proper papers to proceed.

The six health workers were convicted in May 2004 and sentenced to death [JURIST reports] for deliberately infecting the children, but the Libyan Supreme Court overturned the convictions [JURIST report] last December and ordered a retrial. Bulgaria and its allies, including the US and the European Union, contend that the nurses are innocent and maintain that their confessions were coerced through torture. The defendants, detained since 1999, previously argued that the children were infected with the virus before treatment. AFP has more. Bulgaria's Sofia News Agency has additional coverage.

 

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