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Libya AIDS trial prosecutor calls for death penalty for Bulgarian nurses

[JURIST] The prosecutor in the Libyan retrial of five Bulgarian nurses [JURIST report] and one Palestinian doctor accused of infecting over 400 patients, primarily children, with the HIV virus, on Tuesday called for the death penalty in the case. The trial resumed [JURIST report] on May 11 with the testimony of prosecution witnesses [JURIST report], including testimony from a young girl who is among those infected. The trial now stands adjourned until September 5 in order to allow the prosecutor to summon defense witnesses who have not yet appeared in court.

The six health workers were first 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] in December 2005 and ordered a retrial. Bulgaria and its allies, including the US [JURIST report] 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. French Professor Luc Montagnier, the co-discover of the HIV virus, testified [JURIST report] that the infection had spread in the children's hospital before the Bulgarian nurses began their contracts there. AFP has more.

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