A Bulgarian probe into the alleged torture of five Bulgarian nurses and a doctor in a Libyan AIDS epidemic is still ongoing, a prosecutor said here Wednesday, following results in a similar Dutch inquiry.
“The case is still at the stage of preliminary investigation. It is ongoing,” Sofia city prosecution spokeswoman Rumyana Arnaudova told AFP.
“We have sent the Libyan authorities a new request for judicial assistance to identify the persons who took part in the Libyan investigation against the doctor and the five nurses,” she added.
“We have received no answer to this request so far,” Arnaudova said.
The Bulgarian nurses have complained that their country has done too little to seek justice for them after a civil court in the Netherlands awarded Palestinian-born doctor Ashraf Juma Hajuj one million euros in torture compensation from Libya.
The six medics spent eight years in a Libyan jail and were repeatedly sentenced to death for allegedly infecting 400 children in a Benghazi hospital with AIDS-tainted blood.
They were finally freed in 2007 but continue to claim that Libyan police officers beat them, subjected them to electric shocks and set dogs on them to make them confess to their alleged crimes.
Bulgaria’s prosecution resumed a local probe into their torture claims last August but it has advanced slowly due to Libya’s reluctance to cooperate.
The latest Bulgarian request, filed last November, sought signed copies of all rulings in the case, including sentences, motives and other decisions by the Libyan courts between 1999 and 2007, as well any evidence used to open the trial, Arnaudova said.
The Bulgarian nurses said Tuesday they were happy about Hajuj’s compensation deal but added they felt neglected by Bulgaria’s justice system for “not doing anything” to clear their names and punish their Libyan torturers.