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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in Libya

TRIPOLI (AFP) - A Libyan court sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death for deliberately spreading AIDS in a children's hospital, sparking fierce reactions to a verdict that could damage Libya's improving ties with the West.

The accused were convicted of having deliberately infected more than 400 children with the HIV virus that can lead to AIDS, of whom 43 have since died, by injecting them with tainted blood products.

A copy of the verdict obtained by AFP on Thursday also showed they have been ordered to pay a total of one million dollars (827,000 euros) in compensation to the families of the victims.

Both Bulgaria and the United States, which recently lifted economic sanctions against Tripoli after more than 20 years, condemned the verdict as "unacceptable". . . .

EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten expressed his "considerable shock and concern" at the news. "It does cast a shadow over a relationship which we hoped was getting better," he said.

Huh? I don't get it. We have the death penalty here; what's wrong with the death penalty for these people who deliberately infected children with AIDS? What is the problem?