Nurses Sentenced to Death in Libyan HIV Infection Case

Five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for allegedly intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV could be released from prison by the end of June, German Ambassador to Bulgaria Michael Geier said on Thursday, Reuters Africa reports (Reuters Africa, 4/26). The nurses and one Palestinian doctor in May 2004 were sentenced to death by firing squad for allegedly infecting 426 children through contaminated blood products at Al Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya. They also were ordered to pay a total of $1 million to the families of the HIV-positive children. The Libyan Supreme Court in December 2005 overturned the medical workers' convictions and ordered a retrial in a lower court. A court in Tripoli, Libya, in December 2006 convicted the health workers and sentenced them to death. The health workers say they are innocent of the charges, claiming that they were forced to confess and that they were tortured by Libyan officials during interrogations. The health workers also have been charged with slander by three Libyan police offers and one doctor (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/24).