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Libyan Supreme Court to Announce Verdict in Bulgarian Medics Case


Libya's Supreme Court is expected to announce Wednesday whether five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician will be executed on charges of injecting more than 400 Libyan children with the AIDS virus.

The medics were sentenced to death in 2004 and have appealed the decision. They deny the charges and say they were tortured into confessing.

International health experts say the children likely contracted HIV from poor sanitary conditions at a hospital in the city of Benghazi. A number of the children have already died.

The United States and European Union have demanded that Libya free the foreign medics.

Meanwhile, the Gadhafi Foundation says it has reached a settlement with the families of the infected children.

A foundation spokesman says the deal ends the crisis. He says details will be announced today but did not say how it would affect the physician and nurses.

U.S. State Department spokesman, Tom Casey says Washington welcomes any agreement that lets the medics return home.

Bulgaria las long rejected previous efforts to reach a deal that wold financially compensate the families. It says paying off the victims implies the nurses are guilty. Libyan authorities have said a financial settlement would satisfy Islamic law and lift the death sentence.

The Gadhafi Foundation is a charity headed by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. It has been acting as a mediator between Bulgaria and the children's families.

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