One of the girls who contracted AIDS died after long suffering from the disease for more than 24 years, she is one of the children who were infected with the virus during the era of the previous regime, known as the “Children of AIDS” case, her death brought the issue back to the surface.
Fatima Bouchouikha was one of the AIDS patients, and one of the children who were injected with the virus in 1996, at the Children’s Hospital in Benghazi, by 5 Bulgarian nurses, and a Palestinian doctor working in the hospital at that time.
After that, the medical staff, who then injected approximately 426 children with blood contaminated with AIDS, were arrested, and the case lasted 8 years from 1999 to 2007, ending with the Libyan judiciary issuing a death sentence against them.
And once the verdict was issued, the European decision circles in particular, and the West in general, moved and began pressuring the former regime that the accused of injecting children should be released despite their confession before the court, the case was closed and the defendants were released after a visit by the wife of the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
They were released, and the six defendants, after granting Bulgarian citizenship to the Palestinian doctor in July 2007, arrived in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, accompanied by Sarkozy’s wife on the French presidential plane, and upon their arrival they were received as heroes at the Sofia Airport, and the Bulgarian President at the time, Georgi Parvanov, welcomed them at the moment of arrival, then European Union Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
The case was closed, with the signing by Libya and France of a French-nuclear project partnership during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Libya.