Speaking truth to power



ashraf ahmed el-hojouj 2

Ashraf El-Hojouj

Ashraf El Hajouj is a Palestinian-Bulgarian medic who was the principal defendant in Libya’s so-called “HIV Trial”. Raised in Libya, El Hajouj was in the final month of an internship at Benghazi hospital when he was arrested and accused of infecting more than 400 children with HIV. He was sentenced to death in May 2004, only for a retrial to be ordered. The retrial came to the same verdict, but El-Hajouj’s sentence was commuted to life in 2007. He denied all charges. In 2007 El Hajouj was awarded Bulgarian citizenship and deported to the country as part of a prisoner swap.


  • UN Human Rights Council (15th Session)

    September 16, 2010

    UN Watch Statement
    Agenda Item 3, UNHRC 15th Session
    Delivered by Ashraf El Hagoug

    Mr. President,

    The member states of this Council have pledged to protect the highest standards of human rights.

    Many of these can be found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

    · Article Six prohibits an arbitrary death sentence.
    · Article Seven prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
    · Article Nine guarantees the right to security and liberty of the person.
    · Article Fourteen guarantees the right to a fair trial.
    · Articles Two and Twenty-Six prohibit discrimination.

    Regrettably, however, victims worldwide are being denied these rights.

    For example, regarding Myanmar, the General Assembly expressed concern about the conditions in prisons, and about reports of ill-treatment of political prisoners.

    Another example is Venezuela. In December, UN independent experts complained about a blow to the independence of judges and lawyers in the country.

    Finally, there is the example of Libya, which violated all of these articles, and all of my human rights.

    In 1999, I was arrested under false charges, together with Bulgarian nurses. An arbitrary death sentence was imposed on me, as an outcome of an unjust trial. I was tortured to accept their scenario and to sign the confession. I was detained under inhuman conditions for an extensive period of time. We suffered all types of physical, sexual and psychological torture.

    Our trials were seriously flawed. The confessions obtained by torture were used and admitted in court against us. Evidence by all international experts on HIV was disregarded by the Libyan courts.

    Mr. President, Who will return those years to us? What can possibly compensate for our suffering, our years of youth lost in the Libyan jail?

    Mr. President, in the name of universal human rights, how can Libya be elected a member of the Human Rights Council?

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • 2010 UNW Side Event on Libya

    September 16, 2010
  • 2009 Durban Review Conference

    April 17, 2009
UN Watch