Doctor gets €1m after 8 years in Libya jail

2012-03-27 21:38

The Hague - A Palestinian-born doctor who spent eight years in a Libyan jail on charges of infecting children with HIV has got one million euros in compensation, his Dutch lawyer said on Tuesday.

Ashraf Juma Hajuj, who now lives in the Netherlands, last year sued for compensation in a Hague civil court.

The 41-year-old and five Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death in Libya for deliberately infecting 438 children with HIV-tainted blood.

"A Dutch civil court has awarded my client, a Palestinian doctor, €1m on allegations of his torture and mistreatment while in detention in Libya," Liesbeth Zegveld told AFP.

The six were sent to jail in 1999 after 56 children died in a hospital in Benghazi under the rule of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Hajuj on July 27 last year sued 12 Libyan civil servants, saying they were involved in his torture during his time behind bars.

"We chose to focus on the individuals as we wanted to get as close as possible to those responsible for his torture," said Zegveld.

But the defendants were not present during the case, with Zegveld admitting "we have no idea where they are".

"My view is that because these officials worked for the state, the government of Libya should pay these damages," she said.

She told AFP the UN human rights committee in Geneva was expected to make a similar ruling in Hajuj's case as well as the cases of the five Bulgarian nurses later this week.

The six medics, who have always maintained their innocence, said they were tortured to extract confessions.

The group was released in 2007 after intervention from French President Nicolas Sarkozy's former wife Cecilia. The five nurses have since returned to Bulgaria.

Read more on:    the netherlands  |  palestine  |  libya  |  north africa

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