SOFIA (bnn)- Five Bulgarian nurses, whom Libya has sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak at a hospital, signed an indemnity claim against officers accused of torturing them, a report said Tuesday.
Defence lawyers of the medics will file the claim during a trial against the officers scheduled for Jan. 25, the report said. It didn't cite the extent of the indemnity to be sought for.
Two of the nurses and a Palestinian doctor, who was sentenced to death in the same trial, have told the court that Libyan officers beat, raped and jolted them with electricity during interrogations, which lasted for a year after their arrest in Feb. 1999.
The medics are appealing their conviction by a court in Benghazi, which found them guilty last May 6 of deliberately injecting 426 children at a local hospital with blood contaminated with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Libya says more than 40 children have developed AIDS and died.
The court ignored evidence by international experts, who said the infection had started possibly back in 1994, while the hospital hired the Bulgarians in March 1998.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told the AFP that Libya's Supreme Court, where the nurses are appealing their verdicts, would not be influenced by a declaration of the country's parliament last week, which urged execution of the nurses and financial compensations for the affected families.
Earlier in the day, court in Benghazi postponed indefinitely a compensation lawsuit that some of the families have launched against the nurses.
Bulgaria has repeatedly brushed aside Libyan calls for compensation, asserting that the medics are innocent.
Jan 19, '05
Why are the international experts being ignored when they explain their views about the conditions that were already in that hospital?
Regardless of what these health care workers did, no one has the right to torture them.
Last edit by GingerSue on Jan 19, '05