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Libya offers to release foreign medics convicted in AIDS trial if compensated

[JURIST] Libya is willing to release of five Bulgarian nurses convicted of infecting over 400 Libyan patients, primarily children [JURIST news archive] in exchange for compensation, Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Colonel Muhamar Gaddafi [BBC profile], told the Bulgarian newspaper 24 Hours [media website] Monday. Seif al-Islam said the plan - designed to satisfy the parents of those affected as well as Libya, Bulgaria, and the EU - anticipates "substantial compensation for the families of those affected." Al-Islam also promised that Libya would not carry out the death sentences against the six medics, adding "there will be no executions... Libya is not Iraq."

The five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor were convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] to death in their second trial on December 19 after the initial guilty verdict was overturned by the Libyan Supreme Court in 2005 and a retrial ordered [JURIST reports]. Bulgaria and its allies, including the US [JURIST report] and the European Union, contend that the nurses are innocent and have said they have been tortured into admitting guilt in the case [BBC trial timeline; BBC Q&A]. AFP has more.

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