Libya seeks deal to drop Aids case

Libya says it will drop a case against five Bulgarian nurses condemned to death on charges of spreading Aids if Sofia pays 10 million euros for every child infected with the virus at a Libyan hospital.

    All six defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges

    "We are asking for damages of 10 million euros ($13.3 million) for every victim infected by the virus," said Ramadan al-Fituri, who heads the association representing victims in the case, late on Wednesday. 

    One day earlier, al-Fituri listed three conditions under which Libya was prepared to drop charges against the five nurses and a Palestinian doctor who were condemned to death in May by a Libyan court. 

    The tribunal found that they had infected hundreds of children in a hospital in Benghazi in northern Libya with the HIV virus. 

    Poor hygiene blamed

    But medical experts testified at the trial that the infections were the result of poor hygiene at the hospital and that the epidemic was under way before the nurses arrived. 

    Al-Fituri listed the following conditions: Care for the infected children at special medical centres in Europe; construction of a specialised hospital in Benghazi; the supply of all the necessary medicine; and payment of "adequate compensation". 

    On Sunday, Libyan Foreign Minister Abd al-Rahman Shalgham said the verdict against the nurses could be overturned if Bulgaria paid compensation to the families of Aids-infected children, 46 of whom have died so far. 

    The Bulgarian government rejected the proposal, saying it would not pay compensation because it did not believe the nurses were guilty. 

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

    SOURCE: AFP


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