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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulgaria Pushing for Medics' Release

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria was pushing on Wednesday for the repatriation of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor jailed in Libya, after their death sentences were commuted to life in prison.

"For us, the case will be closed only after the medics return to Bulgarian soil, and we are working for it to happen as soon as possible," Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev told reporters.

Bulgaria's prosecutor general, Boris Velchev, said an official transfer request would be sent Wednesday to Tripoli.

Libya had accused the six of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. The medics deny having infected the children and say their confessions were extracted under torture. Their death sentences were commuted late Tuesday.

Velchev said the request to Tripoli was based on a 1984 agreement that would allow the medical workers to serve their sentences in Bulgaria. Last month, Bulgaria granted citizenship to the Palestinian doctor, giving him the right to live in the country.

The ruling came after families of the children each received $1 million and agreed to drop their demand for the six to be executed.