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Nurses' HIV Trial in Libya Adjourned Again

A court in Libya has once again postponed the trial of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor charged with intentionally infecting Libyan children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

During a brief session in Tripoli Tuesday, the presiding judge adjourned the hearing until July 4 to give defense lawyers more time to prepare evidence.

This is the second trial for the nurses and doctor on the AIDS charges. They were convicted and sentenced to death two years ago, but Libya's Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial.

The Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian physician are accused of spreading the HIV virus to more than 400 Libyan children, 50 of whom who have died.

The defendants say their confessions were produced under torture.

The defendants were arrested in 1999 and have been in jail for the last seven years.

Medical experts say the AIDS epidemic among Libyan children predated the foreign medical workers' arrival in the country. Poor hygiene has been blamed as the most likely cause of the virus outbreak.

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