- A Supreme Court in Libya today confirmed the death penalty against the six foreign medics found guilty of infecting 438 Libyan children with the Aids virus. The confirmation came a day after a compensation deal was reached with the families of the children.
The convicts - five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor - were absent in the court when their verdict was being confirmed.
The Chief Judge, Fathi Dahan said the court could not accept the plea of defendants, which confirmed the death penalty.
The Supreme Judicial Council, Libya's highest judicial organ is expected to meet over the issue of compensation deal initiated by the Gaddafi Foundation next week.
Libya's Foreign Minister, Abdel Rahman Shalgham, told journalists that the case now lies in the hands of the Supreme Judicial Council which will decide to either cancel or retain the supreme court judgment.
The convicts, who have been in jail since February 1999, maintained their innocence saying the were tortured to confess to the crime.
They were convicted of infecting the children with HIV-infected blood at a hospital in Benghazi, Libya's second city. Over 50 of the infected children had reportedly died, which aggravated their troubles.
However, the medics linked the deaths to an epidemic of poor hygiene in Benghazi.
Despite losing the final final appeal, Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Feim Chaushev said talks with the Libyan authorities was still on course.
Attorneys of the convicts expressed condemnation, shock and devastation on the verdict, blaming the Libyan judiciary of writing a sad and shameful page in its history book.
On Monday, President George Bush of the United States wrote to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi concerning the issue.
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