Verdict Delayed in Trial of Health Care Workers Accused of Deliberately Infecting Libyan Children With HIV
A Libyan court on Saturday postponed until Dec. 22 its ruling in the trial of seven Bulgarian and Palestinian health care workers accused of deliberately infecting 393 Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood, Reuters reports (Reuters, 9/22). The defendants -- six Bulgarians and one Palestinian -- served as doctors and nurses at a children's hospital in Benghazi, Libya. They have been charged with "killing 393 children by deliberately infecting them with blood contaminated with" HIV (Abu-Nasr, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/22). According to the indictment, the medics deliberately infected children as part of a conspiracy by foreign intelligence agencies to "undermine Libyan security and its role in the Arab world" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/21). If convicted, the defendants could face the death penalty (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/22). A verdict was expected to be handed down on Saturday (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/21). However, Osman Byzanti, the defendants' lawyer, said that the postponement is a positive sign, because it gives the court more time to "consider all the evidence" presented in the case. Byzanti added that the December date might be postponed as well, stating, "The chances for verdicts in December are more than 50%, but there may be a new delay on procedural grounds" (Reuters, 9/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.