Families of HIV-positive Libyan children ask for $5.3 billion

BY Matthew Van Atta

January 25 2006 1:00 AM ET

The families of
hundreds of HIV-infected Libyan children are asking for
$12 million in compensation for each child and 20 infected
mothers—about $5.3 billion overall—as
part of efforts to resolve the case of five Bulgarian
nurses and a Palestinian doctor charged with intentionally
infecting the children.

Idris Lagha, head
of the Association for the Families of the HIV-infected
Children, says that while the request "is a fair deal, we
will also negotiate." Lagha said the group made the
request at a meeting Saturday attended by European
Union and U.S. representatives and a Bulgarian
organization.

Bulgaria, the
United States, the United Kingdom, and the European
Union have agreed with Libya to set up an international
fund for the families of 426 infected children. That
deal resulted in the Libyan supreme court decision
overturning death sentences against the medical
workers and ordering a retrial.

The agreement
included no details on the amount of money, said Maxim
Minchev, cochairman of the Bulgarian nongovernment agency
for promoting ties with Libya.

The nurses and
doctor have been held in Libya since 1999. They were
convicted in May 2004 on charges of intentionally infecting
the children at the al-Fath Children's Hospital in
Benghazi as part of an experiment to find a cure for
AIDS and were sentenced to death by firing squad.

Europe, the
United States, and human rights groups accused Libya of
concocting the charges to cover up poor hygiene conditions
at its hospitals, which they say caused the
infections. The six medical workers said authorities
had tortured them to extract confessions. (AP)

Tags: Health

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