Lawyers for six foreign medics charged with deliberately infecting children in Libya with HIV have said poor hygiene and neglect were the real causes of the disease in the victims. The claim was made during the retrial of the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor in Tripoli.
They have been in custody since 1999 and possibly face the death penalty if found guilty over the infections of 426 children. An earlier guilty verdict was overturned by the supreme court last year. This latest hearing has heard evidence from a French doctor that the HIV cases were probably caused by unsanitary conditions and the re-use of syrnges.
He said the disease first emerged at the hospital in Benghazi in 1997 – a year before the medics arrived. The hearing’s been adjourned until next Saturday.