Qaddafi: I Swear to God I Will Not Release Bulgarian Nurses

Politics | March 23, 2005, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Qaddafi: I Swear to God I Will Not Release Bulgarian Nurses Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi rejected calls from the West for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for deliberately causing an AIDS outbreak at a children’s hospital. Photo by

Muammar Qaddafi on Wednesday pledged he will not release the Bulgarian nurses on the death row in Libya, snubbing international calls for their freedom.

"Everyone from the West comes to Libya, and says to me release the Bulgarian nurses. This means that our children died and this was not considered as important," Qaddafi told an Arab League summit in Algiers, attended by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"I swear to God I will not release them," he said.

In May 2004 Libya found five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor guilty of having caused the death of 40 children and of infecting more than 400 others with HIV at a Benghazi hospital.

The six were sentenced to death by a firing squad, sparking cries of foul from Bulgaria and its allies the US and the EU and hampering Libya's efforts to recover ties with the West after decades of isolation.

"When the court sentenced the Bulgarians to death there were demonstrations (in Benghazi) supporting this sentence," Qaddafi said.

He blamed Western diplomats of considering the Libyan people "cheap".

"The 47 children are dead and the others are still on the death bed," Qaddafi said. "The Bulgarian nurses and a physician said to be Palestinian injected... children in the children's hospital in Benghazi with the AIDS virus."

The medics' confessions, which were extracted with torture, is the only evidence proving their guilt.

Bulgaria has ruled out paying any indemnities to Libya, saying that would equal acknowledging its medical workers' guilt.

There are fears that the already protracted trial may drag on for another three years.
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