AIDS Trial of Bulgarians in Libya Adjourned Again
July 10, 2003
The trial of six Bulgarians and a Palestinian, imprisoned for almost three years on charges of spreading AIDS through tainted blood products in Libya, reopened but was adjourned again indefinitely Tuesday, court sources said. No other details were given of the trial or Tuesday's hearing, which had recommenced after an earlier ten-month adjournment. Six Bulgarians -- five nurses and one doctor -- along with a Palestinian doctor were arrested in 1998 on charges of infecting 393 Libyan children with HIV at a hospital in Benghazi, east of Tripoli, where they worked. The case was thrown out for lack of evidence when it first went to court in 2002, but Benghazi judicial authorities decided in August to reopen the case before a criminal court. If found guilty, the medics face the death penalty. The Bulgarians are also accused of illegally distilling alcohol, having sex outside of marriage, and trading currency on the black market. The seven have denied all charges against them. Two nurses and the Palestinian doctor have said in court their confessions to police were made under duress.
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