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French Version

French urge speedy decision in Libyan HIV retrial

France called Monday for a quick and final decision in the case of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted for their alleged role in infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV.

Paris welcomed a decision by the Libyan supreme court on Sunday to order a retrial, overturning death sentences that would have been carried out by firing squad, the deputy spokesman for the French foreign ministry said.

"We have conveyed on several occasions to the Libyan authorities our wish to bring a rapid and satisfactory resolution to this painful case," Denis Simonneau told reporters. He added that France once again gives "its support and compassion towards the children infected by AIDS and their families."

Paris is examining ways to contribute to a European Union effort aimed at providing humanitarian and medical aid to the families and Libya's hospitals, he said.

The nurses stand accused of transfusing HIV-contaminated blood into 426 children at a Benghazi hospital. Around 50 of them have since died.

All six defendants pleaded not guilty ahead of their conviction in May 2004.

Beirut,01 02 2006
The Daily Star
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