News24

Bulgaria resumes Libyan torture probe

2011-08-23 22:40

Sofia - Bulgaria has resumed a probe into the torture of six Bulgarian medics held for over eight years in Libya over an alleged Aids scandal, Sofia's assistant prosecutor Bozhidar Dzhambazov said on Tuesday.

"The prosecutor's office is preparing a request for judicial assistance," Dzhambazov told Bulgarian news agency BGNES.

The request will be sent off "as soon as the situation in Libya has normalised", he added.

The goal of the investigation, which was initially launched in Bulgaria in 2007 but repeatedly interrupted, was "to identify the perpetrators of the tortures", Djambazov said.

Results from an inquiry in Libya were never passed on to Sofia.

"We hope to receive the documents we requested so we can bring the probe to an end in Bulgaria," he added.

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian-born doctor were jailed in 1999 and sentenced to death for allegedly infecting over 400 Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood at a Benghazi hospital, despite testimonies by international experts.

The medics allegedly admitted their guilt to the police but later retracted their confessions, insisting they had been made under torture.

The "Benghazi six" as they became known, stated they were tortured with electroshocks, beaten and bitten by police dogs in order to confess.

They were eventually extradited to Bulgaria in July 2007, after eight and a half years in a Libyan jail, and were immediately pardoned by Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov.

Commenting on the current events in Libya, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Monday that: "[Libyan leader] Muammar Gaddafi must answer to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for his crimes, including those against the Bulgarian nurses."