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Palestinian doctor files torture complaint against Libya with UN rights group

[JURIST] A Palestinian doctor detained in Libya [JURIST news archive] for eight years after being accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) [official website] against Libya Wednesday, alleging he was tortured during his detention. Decisions by the UNHRC are not binding, but it could ask that Libya pay damages. A lawyer for Ashraf Jima Hajuj said that officials from the European Union [official website] and several member countries had told him not to take legal action against Libya because it might harm diplomatic relations and endanger other foreign health care workers still working in that country. Hajuj filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in France against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [official website] in December 2007.

Hajuj was among six foreign medics [BBC Q&A; JURIST news archive] sentenced by a Libyan court to life in prison [JURIST report] in July 2007 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. The medics have consistently maintained their innocence, saying they were scapegoated for unsanitary conditions in the Libyan hospital were they worked. Bulgaria and its allies have insisted that the medics were tortured into admitting guilt [HRW report].

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