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Palestinian doctor files French lawsuit against Gaddafi over alleged Libya torture

[JURIST] A Palestinian doctor detained in Libya for eight years after being accused of deliberately infected hundreds of children with the HIV virus Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [official website], alleging that he was tortured during his detention. Ashraf Jima Hajuj, who threatened legal action against Libya [JURIST report] in August, told AFP that his lawyer had filed the charges in Paris, relying on France's accession to the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [text], which allows signatory countries to take legal action against suspected torturers who enter their territory; Gaddafi arrived in France on Monday for a five-day visit, although, as a head of state, he may enjoy immunity. AFP has more.

Hajuj was among the six foreign medics [BBC Q&A; JURIST news archive] who had been sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus. Libya released [JURIST report] the six in July after obtaining an agreement from the European Union to normalize and develop closer political and economic ties and increase medical and infrastructure aid. Earlier that month, the Libyan Supreme Court upheld the death penalty [JURIST report] in the case, but the death sentences were later commuted by the Supreme Judiciary Council when the families of the infected patients dropped calls for execution after each was allotted $1 million in compensation [JURIST report]. The six medics have consistently maintained their innocence, saying they were being scapegoated for unsanitary conditions in the Libyan hospital were they worked. Bulgaria and its allies argued that the medics are innocent and were tortured into admitting guilt [HRW report].

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