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Libya Calls On Arab League to Cut Ties With Bulgaria

Libya has called on the Arab League to review its ties with Bulgaria after it pardoned six medical workers that Libya had jailed for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with HIV. For VOA, Leslie Boctor has more from Cairo.

The Arab League was expected to discuss Libya's request.

The workers, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, had twice been sentenced to death in Libya for infecting some 426 children with the AIDS virus in the late 1990s. The case has been widely denounced abroad amid allegations the six were tortured into making false confessions.

Libya commuted their sentences to life in prison and allowed them to fly to Bulgaria last Tuesday, under a deal sponsored by France allowing the six medical worker to serve their sentences at home.

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham said the medical workers should have been detained upon arrival in Bulgaria last week and not freed in a "celebratory and illegal manner."

Emad Gad, a political analyst with Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, says that the Arab League will not likely get involved.

"I can say that the Arab foreign ministers will not listen to the Libyan foreign minister because it's a Libyan-European issue," said Gad. "It's a Libyan decision. "

It was widely expected that Bulgaria would free the workers, but Libyan leaders say they had expected the six to serve their time.

The five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor were freed as soon as they arrived in Bulgaria, following the deal struck between the European Union and Tripoli that ended their eight-year imprisonment. Libya's Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi said Libya had kept their part of their agreement, but Bulgaria did not.