The Libya Portal
Libya (Arabic: ليبيا Lībyā) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west.
With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa by area, and the 17th largest in the world. The largest city, Tripoli, is home to 1.7 million of Libya's 6.4 million people. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica.
In 2009 Libya had the highest HDI in Africa and the fourth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Africa, behind Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world and the 17th-highest petroleum production.
Since the 2011 civil war and the collapse of the Gaddafi regime which had been in power for more than 40 years, Libya has experienced instability and political violence which has severely affected both commerce and oil production.
The HIV trial in Libya (or Bulgarian nurses affair) concerns the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV in 1998, causing an epidemic at El-Fatih Children's Hospital in Benghazi. The defendants were a Palestinian medical intern and five Bulgarian nurses (often termed "medics"). They were first sentenced to death, then had their case remanded by Libya's highest court, and were sentenced to death again, a penalty which was upheld by Libya's highest court in early July, 2007. The Six then had their sentences commuted to life in prison by a Libyan government panel. They were released following a deal reached with European Union representatives on humanitarian issues (the EU did not condone the guilty verdict in Libya against the Six). On July 24, 2007, the five medics and the doctor were extradited to Bulgaria, where their sentences were commuted by the Bulgarian President and they were freed. Libya has since complained about the releases (although, as of July 31, not to the EU), and the issue remains ongoing. Furthermore, a controversy has arisen concerning the terms of release, which allegedly include an arms trade as well as a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement signed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in July 2007. Both the French president and the Bulgarian president have denied that the two deals were related to the liberation of the Six, although this has been alleged by a variety of sources, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the leader of Libya.
The epidemic at El-Fatih and the subsequent trials were highly politicized and controversial. The medics say that they were forced to confess under torture and that they are innocent. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi later confirmed that Libyan investigators tortured the medics with electric shocks and threatened to target their families in order to extract the confessions, and confirmed that some of the children had been infected with HIV before the medics arrived in Libya. He said that the guilty verdict of the Libyan courts had been based on "conflicting reports", and said that "There is negligence, there is a disaster that took place, there is a tragedy, but it was not deliberate." (Read more...)
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Did you know
... that the US first attacked Libya in 1815, then again in 1981, 1986, 1989 and now in 2011?
... that in 1963 the women of Libya were given the right to vote?
... that Libya became a member of the League of Arab States in 1953?
... that Tripoli is Libya's largest city?