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