The lawyers acting on behalf of hundreds of HIV-positive Libyan children have stated that each child should receive 15 million dinars ($11.6 million) in compensation.
The lawyers had made their claim in court on Tuesday, which was retrying six foreign medics who have been accused of deliberately infecting the children. It is to be stated that this is the first time since the retrial of the 5 Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor that had begun in May that the lawyers have started to demand money as compensation.
The alleged spread of infection by the accused took place in a hospital in Libya's Benghazi city in the late 1990s. There are several lawyers who each represent several dozen children and Elghlilab who is one of the lawyers while addressing the Tripoli court said, "I demand compensation of 15 million Libyan dinars (each) for moral and material damages caused to those who are affected."
It is reported that as there are more than 400 children involved, the total compensation demanded would be near around $4.6 billion. Most of the lawyers have set their demands for compensation at 15 million dinars per child, barring one that had demanded 3 million dinars per child. The decision as to who would pay any compensation award rests with the court.
It was reported that in the previous trial the six accused, who have been detained since 1999, ended with their conviction on charges that they intentionally infected 426 children with HIV in the Benghazi hospital. The Supreme Court had on December 2005, overturned the ruling of death sentences by firing squad, and returned the case to a lower court.
This case has been a hurdle affecting the return of normal relations between Libya and the West with the diplomatic and trade ties just about to get pleasant after decades of hostility and ostracism. Washington has for long backed Bulgaria and the European Union in their statement that the medics, in jail in Libya since 1999, are innocent.
It was reported that Tripoli has informally suggested in meetings with diplomats and charity officials in January that the nurses could go free if Bulgaria pays compensation to the children and their families, who demanded a total of $5.5 billion. Bulgaria on her part had refused to pay, but has joined the United States, the EU and Libya in agreeing to back the creation of an aid fund.
With the death of around 50 HIV-infected children the popular anger in Libya has been further fuelled, but analysts are of the opinion that the offer of aid may give Tripoli a face-saving opportunity to free the nurses.
While the prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for the six. The medics, Palestinian doctor Ashraf Alhajouj and Bulgarians Snezhana Dimitrova, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropolu, Christiana Valcheva and Valia Cherveniashka have denied the charges in both their first and second trials and have repeatedly testified that they were tortured to make them confess.
Bulgaria and its allies are in full support the ' torture claims by the medic's and the global AIDS experts have stated that the outbreak at the Benghazi hospital where they worked began before they arrived.
The retrial was adjourned to Sept 21.