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Son of Libyan Leader Admits Foreign Medical Workers Tortured

The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has admitted that authorities in his country tortured six foreign medical workers convicted of infecting hundreds of children with HIV.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi said in an interview with the Arabic television network Al-Jazeera that the six were tortured with electricity and threatened with attacks on their families while in detention.

The five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor say they are innocent, but were tortured to admit guilt during their eight years in captivity.

A Libyan court sentenced the six to life in prison on charges of deliberately infecting about 500 Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS.

The medical workers were permitted to return to Bulgaria last month to serve the rest of the life sentence there, but Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov pardoned them upon arrival.

Libyan courts originally sentenced them to death, but the sentence was commuted after families of affected children received a compensation of about a million dollars per child. Gadhafi's son heads a charity fund created to compensate families of infected children.

International experts say the children likely got sick from unsanitary conditions at a Libyan hospital.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.