MEDICS CASE TAKEN BACK TO PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, SOME CHARGES REMOVED

Politics | February 18, 2002, Monday // 00:00

The case against the medics to be taken back for re-investigation, The People's Court of Libya decided on February 17. The People's Court of Libya downgraded the trial of six Bulgarian medics charged with infecting hundreds of Libyan children with AIDS, saying their case did not warrant a state security hearing. "After going through the evidence, the court has found that this case has nothing to do with state security or acts of sabotage and there is no tangible evidence of such crimes," the presiding judge, Ibrahim Abu Shinaf, said. "Therefore we decided to transfer the case to the prosecutor's office," he added. The case will be taken back to the Chief Prosecutor and from now hearing will take place in an ordinary criminal court where charges carry lighter sentences, observers commented. The charge for intentionally infecting Libyan children with HIV still remains, though. There are no proofs that the six Bulgarian medics have deliberately infected 393 Libyan children with HIV is the opinion of The People's Court of Libya. The only irrefutable fact is the death of a certain number of children as a result of a disease that spread amongst them or having been spread disease, the judge concluded. "The decision is a positive step in the interest of the accused after the most important accusations, sabotage and cooperation with foreign parties, were dropped," attorney Osman Bezanti told The Associated Press. An observer, Jumaa Atiqa of Libya's National Society of Human Rights, predicted the case would be heard in the Benghazi criminal court.

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