I write a lot here about science denial, and it’s been pointed out previously that denying that HIV causes AIDS, for instance, is deadly quackery. Now, via Nature write and blogger Declan Butler and Nature magazine comes news of another form of science denial revolving around HIV: the 7-year imprisonment and torture of six medical workers in Libya (the “Tripoli six”), falsely accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV. In his blog post, Butler asks, “Can the blogosphere help free the Tripoli six?”
This mess began back in 1999, and now the six face execution before a firing squad in Libya. This, despite the fact that HIV experts (including HIV co-discoverer Luc Montagnier) issued a report supporting the medical workers’ claims of innocence, and concluding that the HIV infections were due to poor hygiene standards in the hospital (including the re-use of needles). However, these medical workers are foreigners (Bulgarian and Palestinian), and are being scapegoated rather than have the hospital own up to its own poor practices. (There were more than a dozen cases already in the hospital prior to the arrival of the medical workers, documented in the Montagnier report linked above). That they remain imprisoned despite scientific evidence of their innocence is beyond a travesty of justice. And worst, few people seem to care. I generally follow topics like this, and I’ve not heard a word of this before yesterday.
For those of you with blogs, you can work to spread the word. Butler wonders if we can help. I don’t know, but we certainly can give it a shot. So spread the word. Contact lawyers wtihout borders (Babelfish translation; original French here). Contact your Senators. Contact your representatives. Let them know about this issue. As noted in the Nature editorial, “The principles of law and science have the common aim of discovering the truth.” In this case, the court hasn’t even allowed the science to be presented–a travesty for both science and the law.