Bulgarian Nurses Sentenced to Death in HIV Infection Case Appeal Convictions, Lawyer Says
The five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for allegedly intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV have appealed their convictions, their lawyer, Othman Bizanti, said on Sunday, the AP/Miami Herald reports (El-Deeb, AP/Miami Herald, 2/18). The five nurses and a Palestinian doctor in May 2004 were sentenced to death by firing squad for allegedly infecting 426 children through contaminated blood products at Al Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya. They also were ordered to pay a total of $1 million to the families of the HIV-positive children. The Libyan Supreme Court in December 2005 overturned the medical workers' convictions and ordered a retrial in a lower court. A court in Tripoli, Libya, in December 2006 convicted the health workers and sentenced them to death. The health workers say they are innocent of the charges, claiming that they were forced to confess and that they were tortured by Libyan officials during interrogations (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/13). According to Bizanti, he filed the appeal with the criminal court in Tripoli, which will send the appeal to the country's Supreme Court. The Supreme Court likely will rule on the appeal in two to three months, Bizanti said, adding that the lawyer for the Palestinian doctor filed appeal papers on Thursday (Reuters, 2/17). Following the Supreme Court's decision, Libya's Supreme Judiciary Council has final say in the case (AP/Miami Herald, 2/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.