WMA Appeals to Libya to Lift Death Sentences

The World Medical Association has appealed to the Libyan authorities to lift the death sentence on the Palestinian doctor and the five nurses found guilty in Benghazi last week of infecting more than 400 children with AIDs.

Dr Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a and the five nurses were sentenced to death despite evidence at the trial by medical experts that the children's infections were caused by poor hygiene at the hospital where they were working.

Dr Yoram Blachar, chairman of the WMA Council, said after today's meeting of the WMA in Divonne-les-Bains, France:

'I appeal to the Libyan authorities to quash this sentence. It is completely unjustified. I have asked WMA members attending next week's World Health Assembly in Geneva to seek a meeting with their medical colleagues from Libya to see how we can ensure that these health professionals are fairly treated.'

The WMA meeting heard a plea for help from Dr Svetoslav Stoimenov, the Bulgarian delegate to the WMA. He told the meeting that the six health professionals were innocent. He said they had been forcibly detained for more than five years and had been tortured.