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The trial of six health workers accused of infecting children with HIV in Libya should conclude next week (October 31).

With a guilty verdict likely, Nature asked HIV/AIDS experts to assess a Libyan doctors' report that has been key to the prosecution's case.

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are charged with infecting more than 400 children with HIV whilst working at the Al-Fateh Hospital in Benghazi eight years ago, and face the death penalty if convicted (see Scientists urged to support nurses facing execution).

The experts describe the report as "completely inadequate" and lacking any evidence of a relationship linking the accused to the infections.

Instead they suggest that poor hospital hygiene is the most likely explanation, citing an independent report by leading HIV/AIDS researchers Luc Montagnier and Vittorio Colizzi that was previously thrown out by the court on the grounds that it was hypothetical and lacked precision.

The experts agree that if the health workers are found guilty, it would be a travesty of justice.

Link to full article in Nature

Link to report by Montagnier and Colizzi  [105KB]

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