nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of infecting
about 400 Libyan children with HIV and facing the death
penalty were cleared Sunday of defamation charges in a
in the HIV case against the six medical workers have
generated international criticism of Libya, including
responses from the United States and European Union.
The medical workers, who deny infecting the children,
were condemned to death in December at the end of a
in the defamation case Sunday raised hopes among
supporters, with the Bulgarian president calling it ''a
positive step and a good sign.''
gives hopes for the overall fair outcome of the trial
against the Bulgarian medics,'' President Georgi Parvanov's
office said in a press release.
case stemmed from their retrial last year, when the
workers said the confessions used by the prosecution had
been extracted under torture and named a Libyan police
officer, Jumaa al-Mishri, and a doctor, Abdul-Majid
al-Shoul filed for defamation, claiming $4 million in
The court did not
explain its ruling to acquit the workers of the civil
and criminal defamation charges.
In the HIV case,
the medical workers' lawyers called expert witnesses who
testified that the virus was rampant in the Benghazi
hospital where the children were infected before the
workers began working there in the late 1990s. (AP)