The Libyan Supreme Court on Wednesday (July 11th) upheld the death sentences of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who has been given Bulgarian citizenship. The six were accused of deliberately spreading HIV among hundreds of children in a Benghazi hospital. Within minutes of the start of the hearing, the presiding judge announced that the court had rejected an appeal by the medics. The court also upheld an additional verdict that imposed fines and jail sentences on the medics for violating state rules.However, the court ruling came on the heels of an announcement Tuesday by the al-Gaddafi Foundation that the victims’ families had reached an agreement on the compensation they would receive from a special fund set up by Tripoli and Sofia. Salah Abdel Salem, director of the foundation, said the deal would allow the Libyan government to commute the medics’ death sentences and send them to serve their terms in Bulgaria under an existing extradition agreement between Sofia and Tripoli.
Libya’s Supreme Judicial Council meets next week to discuss the case. On Monday, the White House said US President George Bush had sent a letter to Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, urging him to intervene.