Bulgaria asks Libya to send medics home
Jul 18,2007 00:00 by UPI

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria has asked Libya to extradite five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to Bulgaria after their death sentences were commuted to life in prison.

Bulgarian prosecutor Anton Gerginov in Sofia said the government is preparing documents needed for the transfer of the six people to Sofia, the Bulgarian news agency Focus reported Wednesday.

The extradition is possible under an exchange of prisoners agreement that Bulgaria and Libya signed in 1984, officials in Sofia said.

The five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor, who was given Bulgarian citizenship, could be pardoned under the Bulgarian law once they reach Sofia.

The Libyan High Judicial Council in Tripoli Tuesday commuted the death sentences for the six, who were accused of deliberately infecting 438 Libyan children with HIV virus in a Benghazi hospital nine years ago.

The High Council acted in the wake of a reported deal giving $1 million to families of each infected child. In return, the families agreed the death sentences could be commuted to prison terms.

The nurses and the doctor have denied the charges and claimed an HIV virus epidemic was caused by poor hygienic conditions in the Libyan hospital.

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