Bush gets vocal on HIV-accused nurses

US President George W. Bush has urged Libya to release five Bulgarian nurses jailed for allegedly infecting 420 children with HIV.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur quoted Bush as saying, "The position of the United States is that the nurses ought to be freed. We have made our position known to the Libyan government, and we will continue to make that message perfectly clear."

The healthcare workers have been handed a death penalty and could face a firing squad if their final appeal to the Libyan Supreme Court on 15 November fails.

Washington has forged closer ties with Libya since its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, denounced terrorism, compensated relatives for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and agreed to give up its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes.