* Not a word, not a whisper from AI’s Irene “Gulag” Khan, for whom Muslims can do no wrong: The ordeal of the 5 Bulgarian nurses who are falsely accused, tortured and incarcerated in Ghaddfi’s Libya continues:
Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor — who face a death sentence for injecting Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood — attend a court hearing in February 2007. A Libyan court has acquitted all six of charges of slandering policemen by protesting that confessions that had landed them on death row had been tortured from them.(AFP/File/Mahmud Turkia)
A Libyan court acquitted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic on Sunday of charges of slandering policemen by protesting that their confessions had been extracted under torture.
The ruling came just hours after an organisation headed by a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said the whole saga may soon be resolved.
At a hearing that lasted less than a minute during which the six defendants were not present, judge Salem al-Homari announced they had been found not guilty and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the legal costs.
Nurses’ lawyer Othman al-Bizanti welcomed the ruling and told AFP the charges had been “unfounded”, but one of the two plaintiffs, Jomaa al-Mishri, said it was taken under political pressure and that he would appeal.
The five nurses — Kristiana Valcheva, Nassia Nenova, Valia Cherveniachka, Valentina Siropoulo and Snejana Dimitrova — and doctor Ashraf Ahmed Juma had faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
The six have already been in custody for eight years and were condemned to death in May 2004 on charges of deliberately injecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV, which can cause AIDS, at a hospital in the city of Benghazi.
The verdict was upheld last December but a final appeal, originally set for earlier this month, is due to open soon.
Bulgaria hailed Sunday’s acquittal but called on Libya to quickly release the medics.
“We are satisfied with the court’s decision. However, the trial that has just been concluded has not helped in solving the main case,” foreign ministry spokesman Dimitar Tsanchev told AFP in Sofia.
But the husband of one of the nurses, Bulgarian doctor Zdravko Georgiev, said from Tripoli: “If they did not slander, they therefore told the truth” and the death sentences would be overturned.
Georgiev was detained with the nurses until 2004 and then acquitted, but he is still not allowed to leave Libya.
The six accused said that their “confessions” in the HIV trial were forced from them under torture, including beatings, electric shocks and being threatened with dogs.