Bulgaria Medics Freed from Libyan Jail Demand their Names Cleared

The Bulgarian medics and the Palestinian doctor, who were jailed in Libya for over eight years, insist on more active efforts on the part of Bulgarian institutions to help them clear their names.

The medics organized Friday a conference in the capital Sofia under the motto “Human Rights – the Bulgarian Experience.”

The medics appealed to the Bulgarian authorities to put an end to their “silent diplomacy” politics and support the medics in getting their death penalty, which they say is still effective in Libya, revoked, and prosecute Libyans, who were the reason for their eight and a half-year-long suffering in jail.

The medics stated that those in power in Bulgaria use unfounded motifs to delay the process against their tormentors.

The medics further announced the establishment of their foundation “May 6”, which will help disadvantaged people. They said that they were deeply interested in the faith of the Bulgarian driver jailed in Iran over accusations of illegal drug trafficking, adding they were studying the case and were be prepared to provide assistance.

On February 9, 1999, Libyan authorities detained 23 foreign doctors and nurses, mostly Bulgarians, and 11 Libyan nationals on accusation that they were involved with a plot which resulted in the infection of almost 400 kids at the Benghazi children’s hospital with HIV.

Later, however, most of these were released, and only five Bulgarian nurses, Kristiyana Valtcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka, and Snezhana Dimitrova, one Bulgarian doctor, Zdravko Georgiev, and one Palestinian doctor, Ashraf al-Hajuj (who was granted Bulgarian citizenship in June, 2007), were formally arrested.

The defendants were charged with a mass murder plots aimed at Libya’s national security, and smaller crimes having to do with breaking Libyan traditions and norms. They became known as the Benghazi Six.

What followed was a dramatic trial, which lasted more than eight years, and in which the case went through several different stages.

In the early morning of July 24, 2007, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had been leading active diplomatic dialogue with the Libyan side, announced that France and EU’s representatives had acquired Libya’s agreement to allow the extradition of the six medics to Bulgaria, who landed in Sofia just hours later.

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