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Foreign Captives Released After Eight Years in Libyan Prison

The NewsHour presents a report from Independent Television News about the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who were in Libya on an AIDS mission and imprisoned for eight years.

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  • JONATHAN RUGMAN, ITV News Correspondent:

    Home at last, free at last, and whoops of joy as a French presidential jet delivered five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to the arms of their loved ones, after more than eight years in a Libyan jail for a crime they say they didn't commit.

    They said they'd been tortured and raped in Libyan custody. They were sentenced to death in front of a firing squad, accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. Over 50 of those children are now dead.

    But after two days of talks shrouded in secrecy, France's first lady, Cecilia Sarkozy, helped secure their release. And though the E.U. denies any money changed hands, it's clear that this E.U. commissioner struck a deal: foreign medical aid for the infected children in exchange for the prisoners' freedom. Libya, so long a pariah state, allowed in from the cold at last.

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