Libya May "Re-Examine" Death Sentences for Bulgarian Health Workers if HIV-Positive Children Receive Compensation
December 7, 2004
Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgham on Sunday said the government might reconsider the death sentences of five Bulgarian health workers who have been convicted of intentionally infecting more than 400 children with HIV if the children's families are compensated by Bulgaria, Reuters reports (Reuters, 12/6). A five-judge panel of a Libyan court in May sentenced to death by firing squad five Bulgarian health workers and a Palestinian doctor who have been detained in Libya since 1999 and have been accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV through contaminated blood products. The health workers also were ordered to pay a total of $1 million to the families of the children, 43 of whom have died. Libyan Leader Moammar Kadafi accused the health workers of taking orders from the CIA and the Israeli secret service to kill Libyan children in order to destabilize the country. However, some European governments and human rights groups say that the Libyan Health Ministry failed to screen blood products adequately and allowed poor sterilization practices at Al Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi, where the children were infected. Two of the nurses and the Palestinian doctor have said that they had been tortured into making confessions (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/28). During the health workers' trial, Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV, testified that he believed the children were infected in 1997, more than a year before the Bulgarians were hired (AP/Long Island Newsday, 12/7).
Libyan Comments, Bulgarian Reaction
Libya Will Not Execute Six Health Workers Accused of Intentionally Infecting Children With HIV, Kadafi's Son Says
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.