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Tripoli Court Adjourns Bulgarian Medics Case for Nov 4

Politics | October 31, 2006, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: 1807 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Tripoli Court Adjourns Bulgarian Medics Case for Nov 4 The five Bulgarian nurses have already spent several years in Libyan jail, and say they have been tortured into giving false confessions. Photo by Middle East Online

Unlike expectations of holding last hearing, the Tripoli Court has adjourned the HIV trial of five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor for November 4.

The court met the request of the prosecution to prepare response to the pleadings of the defense put forward on Tuesday for over six hours.

The Libyan defence lawyer of the five Bulgarian nurses Osman Bizanti branded as fake all the documents that state the five Bulgarian nurses are guilty with deliberately infecting some 400 Libyan children with HIV.

The fact the Libyan officers who terrorised the medics in prison had been proved innocent does not mean the nurses and doctor had not suffered from moral and psychological violence, Bizanti added.

Poor hygiene and neglect led to the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, a defence lawyer said on Tuesday at the retrial of six foreign medics accused of deliberating infecting the children.

"I remind you that international scientists found that the epidemic was not through injections but through the re-use of syringes," said Touhami Toumi, a lawyer for one of the six, Palestinian doctor Ashraf Alhajouj.

Luc Montagnier, a French doctor who first detected the HIV virus, has said it emerged in the Benghazi hospital in 1997, a year before the medics arrived. He said in testimony at their first trial the children were most probably infected through negligence and poor hygiene.

The medics were found guilty nonetheless and sentenced to death by firing squad. But Libya's supreme court last year overturned the ruling and ordered the case returned to a lower court.

The Bulgarian nurses have denied the charges in both their first and second trials and have repeatedly testified that they were tortured to make them confess.
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