Libya open to deal on Bulgarian nurses

Libya has said it will discuss reversing the death penalty for five Bulgarian nurses convicted of infecting children with HIV if Bulgaria offers compensation.

    Many of the nurses have said they confessed under torture

    "We have three problems - the infected children, the dead

    children and the convicted Bulgarians. In this case we have to

    solve the three problems together,"

    Foreign

    Minister Muhammad

    Abd al-Rahman Shalgam said on Sunday

    after talks

    with his Bulgarian counterpart in the Netherlands.

    In May, a court sentenced the five nurses and a Palestinian

    doctor to death for intentionally starting an epidemic in a

    Benghazi hospital that infected 426 children and killed at least

    40.

    The United States and the European Union have denounced the

    verdicts.

    Disputed verdict

    Libya wants the Bulgarian government to talk directly to the

    families of the victims and agree on financial compensation,

    Shalgam said.

    He added Libya wants the talks to include paying

    for the construction of a hospital for Aids victims.

    "If these two steps are fulfilled, then we can talk about the

    third step, which is related to reversing the verdict," he said

    shortly after returning from the Netherlands.

    Shalgam said the European Union had to be involved as well.

    Many of the nurses have said they confessed under torture, and

    western medical experts have testified that the epidemic began before

    the nurses arrived at the hospital, probably due to poor sanitary

    conditions.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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