A day of solidarity is being marked today in Bulgaria for five nurses sentenced to death by a Libyan court for deliberately infecting 426 babies with the HIV virus. The five Bulgarian nurses, along with a Palestinian doctor, have been in prison in Libya since 1999.
The co-discoverer of HIV and leading expert Luc Montagnier testified in court that the virus was present in the childrens hospital well before the six went to work there. But his report was rejected in favour of a panel of Libyan experts. The international community has campaigned for their acquittal, but to no avail.
Tripoli reportedly said it would consider their release if it received 2.7 billion dollars in compensation for the families. That is the exact figure Libya paid the families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Many analysts believe the ‘Benghazi six’ as they are known are political prisoners. At the time, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi told an AIDS summit he wanted “an international trial, like the Lockerbie trial.”