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Thursday 24th May 2018

Gaddafi backs AIDS trial outcome

2nd January 2007

24032006_prison_wire.jpgLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has defended a court's decision to sentence five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death, saying that those who commit crimes must accept the consequences.

"It is unimportant that the medics are sentenced to death or not - if they committed a crime and are sentenced to death, that is the court's decision," Qaddafi told reporters, commenting on a trial which has raised widespread doubts about its fairness.

"The important thing is why the medical team injected the children with AIDS. Who ordered you - was it Libyan intelligence, American intelligence, Israeli intelligence or Bulgarian intelligence? This is what we have to find out," Gaddafi said.

The healthcare workers were sentenced to death last week for deliberately infecting the children with the virus that causes AIDS at a Benghazi hospital in the late 1990s.

Western governments and rights groups have strongly criticised the death sentences, and top international experts have said the evidence against the six medics is highly questionable.

The medics have been in detention since 1999, during which time 52 of the 426 infected children have died of AIDS.

Defence lawyers say their clients will file an appeal against the new verdict with the Supreme Court.

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