Six health workers are due to find out today if Libya’s highest court will uphold a death sentence handed down to them last year. The group – five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor – were convicted of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV. The medics, who have already spent eight years in jail, claim they were tortured into confessing.
The case has become highly politicised, hindering Libya’s efforts to improve relations with the EU and end decades of diplomatic isolation. Some western scientists, including one of men who first identified the HIV virus, have suggested negligence and poor clinical hygiene are really to blame and the six are simply scapegoats.
Late last night, Libyan officials stated that a compromise had been reached over compensation for the families of the children involved – but no further details were given.