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EU Concerned Over Libyan Death Sentence For Bulgarians

6 May 2004 -- The European Union today told Libya that it is "extremely concerned" over Libya's decision to sentence six Bulgarians and a Palestinian to death.

EU spokesman Diego de Ojeda said the ruling comes as a "very negative surprise" to EU countries. He said the EU is concerned because of "severe irregularities" during the trial.

The European Commission said it is "extremely concerned" over the ruling.

Earlier, a Libyan court sentenced six Bulgarians and a Palestinian to death on charges that they deliberately infected hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The sentences are subject to appeal. The defendants all pleaded innocent and claimed they had been coerced into false confessions.

Bulgaria immediately condemned Libya for the ruling, and called on NATO, the EU, and the United States to condemn Libya as well.