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

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

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)

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