1. The League has followed, with deep concern, the developments in the case of the Libyan children infected with the HIV/Aids virus at the Pediatric Hospital in Benghazi. While sincerely regretting the tragedy suffered by the victims in this distressing case, the League wishes to declare its full solidarity with all victims and their families and hopes that they will all be able to cope with this ordeal and resume normal lives as soon as possible.
2. The League has also closely followed the legal developments of the file, including the charges and the subsequent indictment of a medical team, better known as the Bulgarian Nurses case, whose six members were sentenced to death by a Benghazi Court. It is that sentence that was revoked today, 25 December 2005, by the Supreme Court which, according to one of the medical team lawyer,Abdallah Maghrebi, “endorsed the appeals in their substance and technicalities. That means the court cancelled the death sentences and lower court will retry the cases and come with a new ruling,”.
3. The League welcomes the Supreme Court ruling and hopes that it will set a precedent that is strictly respected by the Court and applied to all cases where evidence, as in the present case, was obtained by the use of torture or the threat of it. Failing that would be detrimental to the authority and independence of to the Supreme Court as well as to legitimacy of its ruling on the medical team which will then be considered as a ruling imposed by political considerations rather than by legal and ethical concerns.
4. The League takes this opportunity to remind all that it has been promoting the case of the abolition of the death penalty, in Libya and everywhere in the world, ever since its establishment in 1989. The League’s diligent defence of the right to life, without which all other rights are meaningless, stems from its awareness of the widespread contempt for human life in Libya where people have been for years deprived of the protection of an independent judiciary. The League appeals to all Libyans to stand united in demanding the total abolition of the death penalty, the establishment of an equitable judicial system and respect for human rights through the promotion of democratic institutions based on the rule of law, including a responsible executive authority, an elected legislative authority and an independent judicial authority.
25 December 2005