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Libya death row medics will not be executed: report

[JURIST] Six foreign medics sentenced to death in Libya [JURIST news archive] will not be executed, according to Libyan Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee [official website, in Arabic] Suleiman Shahoumi, quoted by Bulgarian media. In December, a Libyan court found five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor found guilty of deliberately infecting 426 children with the HIV virus and sentenced them to death [JURIST report]. The medics have appealed [JURIST report] the decision to the Libya Supreme Court. An earlier trial also resulted in a guilty verdict that was overturned by the Libyan Supreme Court in 2005 when it ordered a retrial [JURIST reports]. According to a report by the Sofia News Agency, Shahoumi said last week in the Libya's General People's Congress that the medics will not be executed even if the court upholds their sentence.

The medics were imprisoned in Libya in 1999, but say they are innocent and are being scapegoated for unsanitary conditions in the Benghazi hospital where they worked. An independent report [text, PDF] by leading experts including Luc Montagnier [Wikipedia profile], who co-discovered the HIV virus, supported their claim. International medical and human rights groups have vigorously criticized Libya's treatment of the prisoners; a report by Human Rights Watch [text] said the medics were tortured into admitting guilt. AKI has more.

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