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Libyan AIDS trial
postponed again

Libyan AIDS trial
postponed again

The retrial of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV was postponed for a second time on Tuesday to give lawyers more time to prepare evidence.

"The trial is postponed to June 20 and will resume with one hearing per week to avoid tiring the defendants further," said presiding judge Mahmoud Hawissa.

Defense lawyers complained about the new delay, saying they had demanded that the medics be released. "This trial has taken another direction, and more than 7 1/2 years in detention is enough," said defense lawyer Othmane Bizanti.

The retrial had been postponed once already on May 11, with the judge saying the lawyers lacked the proper papers.

The United States has long backed Bulgaria and the European Union in saying that the medics jailed in Libya since 1999 are innocent. Around 50 of the children have died, and the case has fueled outrage among the families of the victims.

Bulgaria and its allies say the medics were tortured into confessing, and global AIDS experts say the outbreak at the Benghazi hospital where they worked first happened before they arrived. (Reuters)

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