"The Bulgarian medics have expressed the will to bring civil suits against Libya for their unlawful arrest and against the people who have tortured them," Justice Minister Anton Stankov told Bulgarian National Television on Monday.

The move came after 60 families of HIV-infected children brought civil suits last week against the medics seeking compensation. The Bulgarian foreign ministry has not said how much money is involved.

The Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were in May condemned to death by a Libyan court, after having been detained for five years, on charges that they had infected more than 400 children with the Aids virus in a hospital in Benghazi in northern Libya.

Compensation payments

The court in Benghazi also ruled the medics had to pay compensation of $270,000 per child, while the families demanded $10 million each. The claims of more than 60 families were rejected due to procedural inaccuracies.

All six defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and two of the nurses and the doctor said during the trial that they were tortured into making confessions.

Bulgaria earlier this month rejected a proposal by Libyan Foreign Minister Abd al-Raham Shalgham to pay €10 million ($13.3 million) for each child infected with the virus in order to have the verdict overturned, saying it did not believe the nurses were guilty.