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Libya Throws Out Death Sentences Against Medics, Orders New Trial Case


Libya's supreme court has ordered a new trial for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for allegedly infecting Libyan children with the AIDS virus.

Libya's Justice Minister Ali Hasnawi was quoted Sunday as saying the new trial will be held in one month and will be presided over by new judges.

The defendants were arrested in 1999 on charges of knowingly infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV.

However, medical experts say the infections predated the arrival of the foreign workers and were likely caused by poor hospital hygiene.

Last week, Bulgaria announced the creation of a fund for AIDS-infected children in Libya.

Analysts say the families of the children may have agreed to drop their death penalty demands in exchange for compensation. They also say the nurses could be freed once the compensation is paid.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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