( AP ) - A Palestinian doctor jailed for eight years in Libya along with five Bulgarian nurses for purportedly infecting children with the AIDS virus has filed a complaint with the U.N. charging he was tortured in captivity, his Dutch lawyer said Wednesday.
Ashraf al-Hazouz and the Bulgarians, who were pardoned and freed in July, have said their convictions were based on forced confessions.
International medical groups and European governments had championed their cause, charging the medical workers were made scapegoats for unhealthy hospital conditions in Libya. Libyan authorities accused the workers of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV.
Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld expressed hope Libya would formally admit wrongdoing and reach a financial settlement with al-Hazouz, but said the suit filed at the U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva on Tuesday was necessary.
"Without a case, you don't have any leverage," she said.
The U.N. body oversees the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty signed by Libya. Its rulings are nonbinding, but it could recommend that Libya pay damages.
"The facts of the case are pretty clear," Zegveld said.
She pointed to statements made by Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi, that the detainees had been subjected to electric shocks. He made the remark in an interview broadcast on the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.
Before their release, al-Hazouz and the nurses signed statements saying they had been treated well and would not seek to sue Libya. Afterward, they said they underwent horrific torture in detention.
Zegveld confirmed comments made by her client, who now lives in Bulgaria, that he had been warned by officials from the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the European Union not to take legal action against Libya. He said officials warned that could undermine the improvement in relations between Libya and the West and might jeopardize other foreign health workers in Libya.