Saturday, 28 July 2007

Freed Bulgarian Nurse Kristiyana Vulcheva: I Am Proud to Be Bulgarian

Freed Bulgarian Nurse Kristiyana Vulcheva: I Am Proud to Be Bulgarian

27 July 2007, Friday

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Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)
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Kristiyana Vulcheva is one of the Bulgarian nurses, who have just returned from Libya after spending more than eight year behind bars over accusation of delibaratelly infecting about 400 children with HIV in a Benghazi hospital.

Interview by Evgeniya Marcheva, Darik Radio

Q: Let's first go back to the night when you were freed. The end has probably come as fast as the whole tragedy started. What happened Monday night exactly?

A: We have watched the news until midnight and we understood about Libya's new demands. We thought that the end was not near yet. All of go to sleep when at 5 o'clock Sofia time a policewoman came and told us that we should go to the women's prison head. Then he said: "Pack your suitcases. In one, two or three hours you are flying back to Bulgaria with Mrs. Sarkozy." We were ready in about an hour. Our luggage is still in Tripoli. We took only one bag each. All of us left the prison just as we entered it - only with our clothes on.

Q: You got off the plane first and were wearing white clothes. Does the colour symbolize something special for you?

A: Yes, it symbolizes the mercy and my profession, which I have exercised for so many years with love.

Q: In the past when you wanted to make the Libyans angry you put on red clothes and so appeared in the court hall...

A: Yes, it was on purpose as for me red is the colour of the truth, love and sincerity. That is why I died my hair red as well.

Q: What did you think when you got off the French presidential plane and saw so many people waiting for you? Have you felt at home?

A: I cannot describe my feelings at that moment. The only thing I realized was I have got rid of something really awful.

Q: What have you felt when Libya's High Judicial Council commuted your death verdicts to life sentences?

A: Nothing. It did not matter to me at all. I have not take the decision as glad news. The only glad thing the judges could have said was that we were not guilty and free to go at that moment although it was too late.

Q: And how about the other pardoning you received - that from Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov?

A: Then I felt happy because of the fact that the presidential decree proved the ordinary Bulgarians as well as the politicians are sure we are not guilty. Besides I knew the people I accepted my enemies will hear it as well, no matter they were few hundreds kilometres away. I felt also proud of being Bulgarian and my country supported me.

Q: Do you feel malice and anger at those, who hurt you so much during all the eight years?

A: No, I am profoundly indifferent to them. I think it is worse than hatred. Besides they are just representatives of somebody. They are nobody themselves.

Q: Are you going to testify against your Libyan torturers?

A: Yes, I am going to give evidence. The probes against the Libyan officers are a continuation of the cause of proving we are innocent.

Q: Can you imagine what your life will be in the future?

A: To some extend. I imagined that even behind bars in Libya. I just want to be happy with the people, whom I love.

Q: Do you think you could get what you want?

A: I will fight for it!

Q: Will you put the white overall on again?

A: It is hard for me say. My occupation requires great responsibility. To love it is not enough. I don't know if my psyche would allow me to do it again.

Q: What are you going to do in a month?

A: I hope I will adapt to my new old life. I want to take a computer course, to go to the fitness hall, to swim. I am impatient to see all my relatives and friends, who have not forgotten about me for eight years, as there are some, who have.

Translated by Margarita Stoyancheva

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