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Libya Foreign Min Vows Fairness In Bulgarians' AIDS Trial


SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP)--The first Libyan foreign minister to visit Bulgaria in 17 years said Wednesday that justice would prevail in a trial against six Bulgarian medical workers accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS.

A Libyan court recently dropped conspiracy charges against five Bulgarian nurses and a doctor who had been accused of deliberately infecting 393 children with HIV during blood transfusions. Thirty-eight children reportedly developed AIDS and died.

The six had been jailed for more than three years pending trial. They were moved to house arrest earlier this year after the conspiracy charges were dropped. Prosecutors are now rebuilding the case to file new charges. "There is no other motivation for this trial than establishing the truth," Abdel Rahman Shalqam said after meeting his Bulgarian counterpart, Solomon Pasi. "We also do not want to see innocent people in jail."

Bulgaria, which is arguing that the medics are innocent, has asked Libya to let international experts investigate the case and testify in the trial.

In response to Bulgarian demands for more transparency, Seif el-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi, has promised to monitor the trial.

More than 5,000 Bulgarians, mainly doctors and engineers, work in Libya, where salaries are higher than in Bulgaria.

Shalqam also announced that direct flights between Sofia and Tripoli are to be resumed by the end of this month. The flights, which were canceled in 1999, will be operated jointly by Bulgarian and Libyan companies. Shalqam is scheduled to meet President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Simeon Saxcoburggotski before leaving Bulgaria Thursday.


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Information in this article was accurate in August 21, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.