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IV

108TH CONGRESS

20 SESSION

H. RES. 733

Calling on the Government of Libya to review the legal actions taken against

several Bulgarian medical workers.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

JULY 20, 2004 Mr. BEREUTER (for himself, Mr. WEXLER, and Mr. WILSON of South Caro

lina) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

RESOLUTION Calling on the Government of Libya to review the legal actions taken against several Bulgarian medical workers.

Whereas on February 9, 1999, Libyan authorities detained a

group of Bulgarian medical workers stationed at the AlFatih hospital in Benghazi;

Whereas in March 1999, Libyan authorities notified the Gov

ernment of Bulgaria that 5 members of the group of medical workers were being detained on a warrant accusing the medical workers of participating in a foreign intelligence-supported conspiracy against Libya by infecting over 400 Libyan children at the Al-Fatih hospital with blood products contaminated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV):

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Whereas in February 2002, after a period of investigation,

the Libyan People's Court decided that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the accusations of conspiracy against Libya and dismissed the case referring it back to the criminal court in Benghazi where the medical workers were prosecuted for deliberately causing HIV infections of the children;

Whereas throughout the lengthy trial, which was marked by

accusations of irregularities and gross violations of Libyan law on the part of the prosecution and the court itself, numerous experts in the area of HIV/AIDS testified that there was inadequate and inconsistent evidence offered to affirm that the children were deliberately infected by the medical workers;

Whereas on May 6, 2004, the criminal court found the 5 Bul

garian medical workers guilty of deliberately infecting the Libyan children with HIV and sentenced them to death

by firing squad; Whereas the United States Government, the European

Union, and the Council of Europe have all expressed deep concerns with respect to the conduct of the investigation and trial of the medical workers and the lack of compelling evidence to suggest that the defendants had any in

volvement in the HIV epidemic; and Whereas in the process of developing bilateral relations with

the Government of Libya, the treatment of United States citizens and foreign nationals living or working in Libya, and in particular the resolution of the matter involving the Bulgarian medical workers, should be a factor in considering further improvements in United States-Libyan relations: Now, therefore, be it

•HRES 733 IH

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virus (HIV) and its condolences to the families of

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the lack of compelling evidence regarding the allegations of criminal intent on the part of the Bulgarian

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medical workers:

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(3) expresses its deep dismay over the recent

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verdiet by the Libyan court and the harsh sentence

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imposed on the Bulgarian medical workers and

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urges the Government of Libya to review the case,

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reconsider the verdict, and consider the possibility of withdrawing the charges and releasing the defend

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ants; and

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(4) affirms the support of the United States for

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the Government of Bulgaria and its efforts to reach

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a just and final resolution of this matter.

•HRES 733 IH

In March 1999, Libyan authorities notified the Bulgarian Government that six members of a medical group working in Libya were being detained on a warrant accusing the medical workers of participating in a foreign intelligence-supported conspiracy against the state by affecting over 400 Libyan children at the Al-Fatih hospital with blood products contaminated with the HIV virus.

After a period of investigation, the Libyan People's Court decided that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the accusations of conspiracy against the state and dismissed the case, referring it back to the criminal court where the medical personnel were prosecuted for deliberately causing the infections of the children.

The lengthy trial was marked by accusations of irregularity and gross violations of Libyan law on the part of the prosecution and the court itself. Numerous experts in the area of HIV/AIDS testified that there was inadequate and inconsistent evidence offered to affirm that the children were deliberately infected by the medical personnel.

On May 6, 2004, the criminal court in Benghazi found the five Bulgarian medical workers and one Palestinian doctor guilty of deliberately infecting the Libyan children with HIV and sentenced them to death by firing squad.

H. Res. 733, which was introduced by our former colleague and Chairman of this Subcommittee, Doug Bereuter, expresses its sympathies for those Libyan children infected with the HIV/AIDS disease and its condolences to the families of those children who have died from the HIV epidemic. The resolution raises concerns regarding the conduct and fairness of the investigations and trial, and expresses its deep dismay over the verdict by the Libyan court and the harsh sentence imposed on the medical workers.

Finally, the resolution urges the Libyan Government to review the case, reconsider the verdict and consider the possibility of withdrawing the charges and releasing the defendants.

The Subcommittee has worked closely with the Bulgarian Embassy here on this matter and has their support for this effort.

I urge adoption of this resolution.
Are there any opening statements?

I would like to recognize our Ranking Member, Mr. Wexler, for an opening statement.

Mr. WEXLER. Thank you, Madam Chair.

And not in opposition to the resolution, which I strongly support, but I think it is only apt to point out at this time that—while the President continues to opine, most recently in the debate, about the so-called reformed Libya and holds it up as an example of extraordinary diplomacy on behalf of the United States that this is yet another example that Libya has not reformed, that Libya is still the repressive rogue nation that it once was. And I applaud the fact that we are doing this resolution.

Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Wexler.
Mr. McCotter, do you have an opening statement?
Mr. McCOTTER. Yes, just a quick observation.

Having been to Libya myself, with Mr. Weldon and others, I think that, clearly, reservations about Libya are in order.

But we must also recognize some of the steps Libya has taken to reform itself as it undergoes this painful process of leaving the nation of rogue states and becoming a member of the civilized world.

In fact, one of the largest reasons for hope and optimism regarding Libya is their renunciation of their weapons of mass destruction program, of which this resolution is not a part.

Thank you.
Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. McCotter.
Ms. Lee?
Ms. LEE. No.
Mrs. Davis. Are there any amendments?

If not, the Chair will now entertain a motion that the resolution be reported favorably to the Full Committee.

Mr. WEXLER. So moved.

Mrs. Davis. The question occurs on the motion to report the resolution H. Res. 733 favorably. All in favor, say "Aye." All opposed, "No."

The motion is approved, and the bill is reported favorably. The staff is directed to make any technical and conforming amendments.

Pursuant to notice, I call up the resolution H. Res. 341 for purposes of markup. Without objection, the resolution will be considered as read and open for amendment at any point.

(H. Res. 341 follows:]

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