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Released Bulgaria HIV medics renew accusations of torture in Libya

[JURIST] Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor reiterated allegations Friday that Libyan authorities subjected the six medics to torture during their eight years in Libyan custody on suspicion of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus [JURIST news archive]. The six medics have consistently maintained their innocence, and in testimony before a Bulgarian investigation commission Friday, they accused Libyan authorities of using electric shock and beatings to elicit confessions [HRW report]. Bulgarian prosecutors are currently investigating whether to proceed with torture charges [JURIST report] against Libyan authorities. The Palestinian doctor, who has been given Bulgarian citizenship, said last week that he plans to file a torture complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee [JURIST report] against Libya.

The son of Libya's leader, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, on Thursday acknowledged [JURIST report] that the foreign medics had been subjected to electric shocks and threats of retaliation against their family. The medics were initially sentenced to death [JURIST report] for allegedly infecting patients with the HIV virus, but a Libyan judicial body commuted their sentences after the families of the infected patients each received $1 million in compensation [JURIST reports]. All six were pardoned by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov after their release by Libyan authorities [JURIST reports] under the pretense that they would serve their sentences in Bulgaria. AFP has more.

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