U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was awarded a medal on July 9 for helping to free imprisoned medical personnel sentenced to death after being accused of deliberately infecting 460 Libyan children with HIV, Reuters reports (africa.reuters.com, 7/9). The group says they are innocent, and that Libyan authorities tortured them and forced a confession.

After spending eight years in jail, the five accused Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, Ashraf Alhajouj, were freed from a Libyan jail when the European Union and Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, struck a cooperation deal. Rice and the United States government repeatedly urged Libyan officials for the prisoners’ release.

“I am glad that they are home safe,” said Rice after getting the prestigious Stara Planina medal from Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. “It was a terrible ordeal, one that I am very glad has ended.”