Libya foundation says deal reached in foreign medics AIDS trial

[JURIST] The case of six foreign medics [JURIST news archive] who were sentenced to death [JURIST report] last year for infecting hundreds of children in a Libyan hospital with AIDS has been settled, according to the Gaddafi Foundation [official website] Tuesday. The announcement comes one day before the Libyan Supreme Court was scheduled [JURIST report] to announce its verdict in the appellate trial for the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor. Many analysts expected the court to uphold the lower court's death sentence, and some observers speculated the Libyan government would only overturn the convictions if western states agreed to provide medical expenses and financial compensation for the patients. Libya has previously demanded up to €10 million euros [JURIST report] (approximately $13 million) for each infected patient. The details of the settlement are expected to be released Wednesday.

The six medics have been imprisoned in Libya [JURIST news archive] since 1999 but have consistently maintained their innocence, saying that they were being scapegoated for unsanitary conditions in the Libyan hospitals where they worked. The medics were sentenced 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 medics are innocent and have been tortured into admitting guilt [HRW report]. AP has more.

 

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