Feature

Death sentence for nurses

The week's news at a glance.

Tripoli, Libya

A Libyan court this week sentenced six foreign medical workers to death by firing squad for “deliberately infecting” more than 400 children with HIV in 1998. Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi claims the six—five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor—were paid by the CIA and Israeli intelligence to spread AIDS in Libya. Most Libyans believe that story, though international AIDS experts say the six are being scapegoated for an outbreak caused by the hospital’s poor sanitation. The defendants were first convicted two years ago, but two of the nurses said they had been tortured into false confessions, and a Libyan court ordered a new trial. The U.S. and the European Union said this week that the second trial was as flawed as the first, and they appealed to Libya to free the prisoners.

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