Libya: Foreign Health Workers Describe Torture




 
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Boots
 
February 19th, 2007  
Mokhaberat
 
 

Topic: Libya: Foreign Health Workers Describe Torture


Rice presses Libya for release of nurses in Bulgarian AIDS case

While in Bulgaria Friday, Rice said that "the Bulgarian nurses have been too long in captivity" and called for their release, saying "this is a humanitarian case and it is time for them to come home." Bulgaria and its allies, including the US and the European Union, contend the nurses are innocent and maintain that their confessions were coerced through torture. The six health workers previously argued that the children were infected with the disease prior to treatment by the accused. Nine police officers and one doctor were acquitted [JURIST report] of torturing the health workers [HRW report] last year.
AP has more.

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchas...release-of.php
..........

*UPDATE*: On November 15 the Supreme Court postponed its ruling on the case. The next court session is set for January 31, when lawyers will submit their legal memos to the court.

After the postponement, more than 100 relatives of the infected children, demanding the death sentence for the defendants, clashed with riot police outside the court, apparently after a police officer pushed a female protester to the ground. (New York, November 15, 2005) — Libya's Supreme Court should consider the torture claims of six foreign medical workers on death row for injecting 426 Libyan children with HIV, Human Rights Watch said. The court will review the case today.Four of the six defendants, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, told Human Rights Watch in May that they confessed after enduring torture, including beatings, electric shock and sexual assault. Libyan officials denied all of the defendants prompt access to a lawyer, they said. In June, a Tripoli court acquitted 10 Libyan security officials accused of using torture against the defendants.

“There are credible allegations of torture against the foreign health workers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch. “The Libyan Supreme Court should take these facts into account and reject the death sentences.”

Today the Supreme Court can accept the death sentences or return the case to a lower court. It can also postpone reviewing the case, as it has done before.

Libyan authorities arrested the Bulgarians and Palestinian in February 1999, and charged them with purposely infecting 426 children with HIV. The children were patients in the al-Fatih Children’s Hospital in Benghazi. A Benghazi court sentenced the foreign health workers to death by firing squad in May 2004. Nine Libyans who worked at the hospital were acquitted.

At least 50 of the children infected with HIV have died, and the case has deeply angered the Libyan public.

“The plight of these innocent children is a tragedy,” Whitson said. “But their suffering should not impede justice or lead to more abuse.”

Luc Montagnier, the co-discoverer of the HIV virus, testified in the trial that the children were probably infected as a result of poor hygiene at the hospital, and that many of the children had been infected with HIV before the arrival of the foreign health workers in 1998.

But Libyan medical experts for the prosecution claimed the infections resulted from intentional injections of the AIDS virus by the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical workers. The prosecution claims the defendants confessed to their crime.

Four of the foreign health workers told Human Rights Watch that interrogators subjected them to electric shocks, beatings to the body with cables and wooden sticks, and beatings on the soles of their feet, in order to extract their confessions. In May, Human Rights Watch interviewed the foreign health workers in Tripoli’s Jadida prison.

“I confessed during torture with electricity. They put small wires on my toes and on my thumbs. Sometimes they put one on my thumb and another on either my tongue, neck or ear,” Valentina Siropulo, one of the Bulgarian defendants, told Human Rights Watch. “They had two kinds of machines, one with a crank and one with buttons.”

Another Bulgarian defendant, Kristiana Valceva, said interrogators used a small machine with cables and a handle that produced electricity.

“During the shocks and torture they asked me where the AIDS came from and what is your role,” she told Human Rights Watch. She said that Libyan interrogators subjected her to electric shocks on her breasts and genitals.

“My confession was all in Arabic without translation,” she said. “We were ready to sign anything just to stop the torture.”

The five Bulgarian nurses are being held in a special wing of Jadida prison, where they now get regular visits from their lawyers and Bulgarian officials. The Palestinian doctor, Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a, is in the men’s section of the prison by himself in the wing for those on death row.

“We had barbaric, sadistic torture for a crime we didn’t do,” Jum'a told Human Rights Watch during an interview conducted in the presence of a prison guard. “They used electric shocks, drugs, beatings, police dogs, sleep prevention.”

“The confession was like multiple choice, and when I gave a wrong answer they shocked me,” he said. He claimed that the defendants were also forced to shock each other.

Human Rights Watch also interviewed one of the 10 Libyan security officials tried in June for using torture against the foreign health workers. Jummia al-Mishri, a lead investigator in the case and one of the torture defendants, insisted that Jum'a had confessed willingly. He claimed that investigators had found two bottles with the HIV virus in Kristiana Valcheva’s house.

Al-Mishri argued that the foreign health workers had complained of torture three years after their arrest, suggesting that they concocted the claims. But Jum'a told Human Rights Watch that he and the other defendants complained of torture during their first court session in 2000, but the judge dismissed the complaint. The court also denied them a lawyer until their first day in court, the foreign health workers said.

On June 7, a Tripoli court acquitted al-Mishri and the nine other Libyan security officials—seven policemen, a doctor and a translator—accused of torturing the foreign health workers.

The Benghazi AIDS case has become an international affair. Both the European Union and the United States are involved in negotiations between the Libyan and Bulgarian governments. Top Libyan officials have suggested the defendants could be pardoned if Bulgaria paid compensation to the families of the victim. But the Bulgarian government has refused the offer because it implies an admission of guilt.

On November 10, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the Libyan leader’s influential son and the head of the Qaddafi Foundation, said he did not believe the foreign medical workers were guilty. His foundation has helped secure the defendants better conditions in prison.

Human Rights Watch is also appealing for ongoing medical aid for the Libyan children infected with HIV. The Association for Child Victims of Aids in Benghazi told Human Rights Watch in May that 19 mothers of these children are also infected with the virus.

“Tell the world that these children are innocent and suffering,” Ramadan al-Faturi, the association’s spokesman told Human Rights Watch. He demanded better training for Libyan doctors and psychological support for the families.

***

Human Rights Watch has exclusive photos of the Bulgarian health workers. To reproduce these photos, free of charge, please visit our website at:
http://hrw.org/photos/2005/libya1105/
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/11/14/libya12013.htm
February 19th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
Funny thing is I was offered a job in Libya when they were first reopened... glad I declined.
February 19th, 2007  
Padre
 
 
That leopard has not changed its spots !
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Boots
February 19th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
This is true but our governments have grown blind out of situational ethics.
February 20th, 2007  
Mokhaberat
 
 

Topic: Libya: Foreign Health Workers Describe Torture


Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldogg
Funny thing is I was offered a job in Libya when they were first reopened... glad I declined.
Dont you think we need a coup, Man its been 39 years now, and the retared is holding on the dam chair. We need funding to do it.COUP?????????????
I realy Respect you Bulldogg.... Thanks for declining the blood Money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padre
That leopard has not changed its spots !
And he still bites like a crazy dog...................
February 20th, 2007  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mokhaberat
Dont you think we need a coup, Man its been 39 years now, and the retared is holding on the dam chair. We need funding to do it.COUP?????????????
I realy Respect you Bulldogg.... Thanks for declining the blood Money.
This may sound odd and I may be wrong here and yes it is off topic but is it wise/safe for a person to be calling for a coup and firing off insults at a national leader especially a rather unstable one while serving in the military of that country?
February 20th, 2007  
Padre
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
This may sound odd and I may be wrong here and yes it is off topic but is it wise/safe for a person to be calling for a coup and firing off insults at a national leader especially a rather unstable one while serving in the military of that country?
What's Cuba got to do with it?
February 20th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
Monty, you're out of your depth, perhaps you might PM our Libyan member and ask for enlightenment.

Ahmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
February 20th, 2007  
jequirity
 
 
Just out of interest, who would be the best choice as replacement of Gadaffi? Dunno much about libya, most of what we hear about libya over in scotland is about the lockerbie bombings
February 21st, 2007  
Mokhaberat
 
 

Topic: I would be the Best Choice


Quote:
Originally Posted by jequirity
Just out of interest, who would be the best choice as replacement of Gadaffi? Dunno much about libya, most of what we hear about libya over in scotland is about the lockerbie bombings
1 ) I would restore full diplomatic powerfull relations with the USA and EU.
2 ) restore full economilcail relation with Europe and USA.
At the same time, I am a strong supporter of the prospective war in Iraq: immediate, violent, and permanent removal of Saddam Hussein and his family- and tribe- based government from power in Iraq, preferably followed by strong, long-term, democracy-building activities by a trustworthy occupying power. Followed by the same Hopefully in Iran. Followed by replacement of support for dictatorships worldwide with support for democracy-building activities in those countries.And Help fight Terror,ext, ext,ext,ext


I just want to repliy with respect to MontyB, for saying and righting=== This may sound odd and I may be wrong here and yes it is off topic but is it wise/safe for a person to be calling for a coup and firing off insults at a national leader especially a rather unstable one while serving in the military of that country?

WHOS Side are you on, The Military Coup Or a Nothing, if you know the history of libya then you should know that Qaddaffi was a Military Officer and he started a cope overthrowing the King of libya, I will know if im in grate danger or not for saying this on the Forums, Thanks for your support.
 


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