Gaddafi got what he deserved: Bulgarian nurses



Gaddafi got what he deserved: Bulgarian nurses 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," added Dimitrova.

All five said they wanted Libya's new leaders to exonerate them.

"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 in Benghazi.

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 Georgy Parvanov.

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.

PTI