Sofia: Five Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in
Libya for eight years over an HIV scandal on Thursday welcomed news
of Muammar Gaddafi`s death saying the Libyan strongman had
"got what he deserved".
"The news made me very happy. It`s a punishment. A dog
like him deserved to die like a dog," Valya Chervenyashka said.
The nurses were tortured and twice sentenced to death
under Gaddafi`s regime.
Valentina Siropolu, another of the nurses who were freed
in 2007, said: "I am really happy, I was expecting it. He got
what he deserved."
Two others, Snezhana Dimitrova and Kristiana Valcheva,
however struck a different note.
"I would have been happy if he had been captured alive
too," said Valcheva.
"I can`t be happy about anyone`s death, even my enemy,"
All five said they wanted Libya`s new leaders to
"The Bulgarian government`s main goal should be to demand
that our innocence be recognised," said Chervenyashka.
"Gaddafi`s death doesn`t make me feel better, I claim my
innocence," added Dimitrova.
The five Bulgarian nurses, along with a Palestinian-born
doctor, were jailed in Libya in 1999 for allegedly infecting
438 children with HIV-tainted blood at a paediatric hospital
Experts, including Luc Montagnier, the French virologist
credited with co-discovering the HIV virus, testified however
that the epidemic was due to poor hygiene.
The case sparked an international outcry, eventually
leading to the medics` release and return to Bulgaria in 2007
where they were immediately pardoned by Bulgarian President
On Thursday, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov
said he would "keep insisting categorically" that the nurses`
innocence be recognised by Tripoli.
"It is important for us to see the archives of the secret
services, which should demonstrate the political motivations
behind the trial against our nurses," he told public radio.
Reacting to Gaddafi`s death, Mladenov said "it is the
fate of every dictator".
"Let this be a warning to all dictators; they cannot
subject their people indefinitely to torture and humiliation."
The minister added he hoped Bulgaria would help rebuild
the Libyan Army and police force, as well as healthcare
facilities where many Bulgarian nurses have continued to work,
even during the unrest.