EU says deal with Libya on Bulgarian nurses still not imminent

BRUSSELS, Belgium — EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner denied on Thursday (June 21st) that a deal on freeing five Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya was imminent. She acknowledged, however, that EU negotiators are busy trying to reach a settlement. The nurses — and a Palestinian doctor who was recently granted Bulgarian citizenship — were sentenced to death on charges that they deliberately infected nearly 500 children with HIV. Bulgaria, its European allies, and the United States have rejected the verdict, citing experts who testified that the epidemic began before the medics were hired. The families are demanding compensation for every infected child.

In other news Thursday, another Libyan police officer has filed a lawsuit charging the nurses with slander. In May, the nurses and doctor were acquitted of slander charges filed by six other officers, whom the medics said had tortured them into making confessions.

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