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Son of Libyan leader admits torture of foreign AIDS medics

[JURIST] Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, said Thursday that five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were tortured during their eight years in Libyan custody on suspicion of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus [JURIST news archive]. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Gaddafi acknowledged that the medics had been subjected to electrical shocks and threats of retaliation against their family members, but said that other torture allegations were lies. Al Jazeera has more. AP has additional coverage.

Initially sentenced to death, the medics had their sentences commuted to life in prison [JURIST reports]. They were released by Libyan authorities in late July under the pretense that they would serve their sentences in Bulgaria. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov immediately pardoned the six medics, including the Palestinian doctor who has been granted Bulgarian citizenship. The medics, who have consistently maintained their innocence and accused Libyan authorities of eliciting confessions through torture [HRW report], have indicated they will testify against 11 Libyan police officers facing torture charges [JURIST report] in Bulgaria. Earlier this week, a lawyer for the doctor, Ashraf Alhajouj, said that he planned to file a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee [JURIST report] against Libya for the abuse Alhajouj says he suffered while in detention. It has been reported that the medics were only permitted to leave Libya because they signed documents releasing their right to sue Tripoli for torture [EU Observer report].

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