Cecilia Attias, former First Lady of France, Arrives in Sofia

Cécilia Attias, photo by EPA/BGNES

Cécilia Attias, ex-wife of former French President Sarkozy, arrives in Sofia Thursday to meet with the five Bulgarian nurses involved in the HIV trial in Libya.

Five Bulgarian nurses, Kristiana Vulcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka and Snezhana Dimitrova, and one Palestinian doctor, Ashraf al-Haiui, spent eight years in prison in connection with the 1999 HIV/AIDS case at the Benghazi hospital. The six medics were charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV in 1998.

The doctor and five nurses were arrested in 1999 and were sentenced to death twice, first in 2004 and then again in 2006 following an appeal. Their sentences were subsequently commuted to to life in prison by a Libyan government panel.

The medics were released due to international pressure on the Gaddafi regime and were extradited to Bulgaria in July 2007.

The five nurses have been willing to express their gratitude to Cécilia Attias in person in Bulgaria.

Cécilia Attias, who played an important role in the release of the medics, has also said she is looking forward to a meeting.

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