Qaddafi Plays Again Spy Link in Bulgarian Medics' Case

Politics | December 30, 2006, Saturday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has defended a court's decision to sentence five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death.

In his words, mystery still surrounds the case. Those who committed crimes must accept the consequences, he said.

Libya has been under increasing pressure because of international doubts over the fairness of the trial.

"It is unimportant that the medics are sentenced to death or not - if they committed a crime and are sentenced to death, that is the court's decision," Qaddafi told a gathering of officials, religious leaders and reporters in Tripoli.

"The important thing is why the medical team injected the children with AIDS. Who ordered you - was it Libyan intelligence, American intelligence, Israeli intelligence or Bulgarian intelligence? This is what we have to find out."

Last week the medics were sentenced a second time for deliberately infecting the children with the virus that causes AIDS at a Benghazi hospital in the late 1990s. More than 50 of the children have since died.

Condemnation poured in from Western governments and rights groups, with Bulgaria, the EU, which it has already joined and Amnesty International among the swiftest critics.

Qaddafi contrasted the international outcry over the HIV case with that of Libyan Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, who was found guilty in 2001 of the Pan Am plane bombing over Scotland and handed a mandatory life prison sentence.

Tripoli has agreed to pay USD 2.7 B to the families of the crash victims and taken responsibility for the bombing.

"Organizations like the Arab League, the non-aligned movement and the Islamic Conference said al-Megrahi was a political prisoner and international observers said elements of foreign intelligence were present at the trial," Qaddafi said. "Nobody asked for his release."

On Thursday, Libya's Foreign Ministry said western criticism of the death sentences showed a lack of respect for Libya.

It defended the ruling and said outside pressure to overturn the sentences created a dangerous precedent in which Libyans are considered "sub-human" and treated differently to Bulgarians.
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