Scroll To Top

Senior E.U. official remains hopeful Libya will free medical workers convicted in AIDS trial

Senior E.U. official remains hopeful Libya will free medical workers convicted in AIDS trial

European Union external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Wednesday she remains hopeful Libya will free six medical workers sentenced to death for allegedly infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV-contaminated blood. Ferrero-Waldner made a one-day visit Tuesday to Libya to visit with Libyan authorities, including leader Mu'ammar Gadhafi, appealing for their release. Speaking to reporters after her trip, she said her visit also included visits to the children, their families, and the prisoners. Forty-eight of the infected children have reportedly died. "I wanted to go and show the compassion and the sympathy of the European Union and my own sympathy toward the HIV-affected children and families," she said. The medical workers--five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor--were convicted of intentionally infecting the children with HIV-contaminated blood as part of an experiment to find a cure for AIDS. "I went to see the nurses and the Palestinian doctor to show and tell them that we have not forgotten them and we are working for their release," she said, adding that the six were "psychologically tired" from their ordeal. Ferrero-Waldner said she did not talk about compensation with Gadhafi but urged him to work for the prisoners' release; however, she said "the response of Gadhafi clearly was he could not interfere with the judiciary." She said the European Union still had "confidence in the independent judiciary of Libya" but added that she had "clearly expressed reservations on evidence on which they have been convicted." Human rights groups have accused the Libyan government of concocting the charges to cover up unsafe practices in the country's hospitals and clinics. The United States, Europe, and Bulgaria have pressed Libya to free the medics, who were convicted in May 2004. The E.U. visit to Libya comes as the country's supreme court is to rule May 31 on the appeal filed by the prisoners against their death sentence. Bulgaria's president, Georgi Parvanov, is also set to travel to Tripoli May 27 to appeal to authorities to release the medics. (AP)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff