Kadafi’s Son to Act as Observer at Trial of Bulgarian Medics Charged With Infecting Libyan Children With HIV
Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and chair of the Kadafi International Foundation for Charity Associations, today agreed to act as an observer in the trial of six Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor charged with deliberately infecting 393 Libyan children with HIV, Reuters reports. Reuters says that the move was welcomed by Bulgarian officials, who see Kadafi's presence as a "boost" for the medics' chances of acquittal. The medics could face the death penalty if convicted in what the indictment called a "conspiracy by foreign intelligence forces to undermine Libya's security and its role in the Arab world." In a written statement to Reuters, al-Islam, who last year helped broker the release of Western hostages taken in the Philippines, said that he agreed to the position "at the request of the Bulgarian side and in conformity with the humanitarian role of the Foundation. ... We will do our utmost to guarantee that justice is done, and assure the Bulgarian side of the fairness and justice of the Libyan judicial system." The trial of the medics, who have been detained since early 1999, began June 2. A verdict was expected last Saturday, but the Libyan People's Court postponed its ruling until Dec. 22, saying it needed more time to review the evidence, a "positive sign," according to Bulgarian officials. Also on Saturday, diplomats from the European Union and Canada were allowed for the first time to observe the court proceedings (Sabeva, Reuters, 9/27).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.