Effect Measure

As Declan Butler reports on his blog, the Tripoli 6 case is reaching its final phase. To summarize briefly, The Tripoli 6 are five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor who have been imprisoned in Libya for 7 years and then condemned to death by firing squad on charges they deliberately infected some four hundred or more children with HIV in the hospital in Bengazi. Scientific work later demonstrated they could not have been the source of the infection. You can find previous posts we did on this here. On December 19 a new trial, called as a result of an appeal to the Libyan Supreme Court of the original verdict, again pronounced a death sentence on the health workers. The most recent sentence was again appealed to the Libyan Supreme Court. Their verdict is now scheduled to be handed down on July 11 (postponed from today):

We are now in the crucial final phase of the Tripoli six case. This morning, Libya’s Supreme Court heard the appeal of the six. There will be no further hearings, and it will rule on 11 July. Meanwhile, the families of the Libyan children are discussing a possible settlement with the European Union, and an announcement on that is expected Friday. (Declan Butler’s blog)

That settlement has been the subject of intense negotiation. For the children and their families the results would be internationally coordinated humanitarian aid to provide lifelong treatment and support for the children and their families. If an agreement can be fashioned, most observers feel that will open the way to tackle the problem of the release of the six health workers. Even if the death sentence is affirmed, which is quite possible, the death sentence could be annulled or clemency granted under Islamic Law.

Obviously this is the goal. But nothing is done until it’s done. So we continue to wait and hope things don’t go horribly wrong. For a change.


  1. #1 Tommykey
    June 20, 2007

    This whole thing is so surreal. Even if the Tripoli 7 are granted clemency or freed, which I hope they are, seven years of their lives have been stolen from them because some incompetent Libyan authorities needed scapegoats.

  2. #2 revere
    June 20, 2007

    Yes. A real tragedy. Hope it doesn’t get to be more of a tragedy. News reports in France are reporting a deal has been reached but it hasn’t. Things are still in flux and there remains the possibility things can come unglued. The settlement and clemency are separate and will be sequenced most likely. Or not. Things are still fluid. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

  3. #3 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 21, 2007

    Well, seven years in hack. If I were them I would haul tail for the first available embassy and get diplomatic immunity granted to them. It will hit the news and they likely wont clear the country before they are arrested again.

    This EU deal is just another pile of crap though. They are going to buy them off and compensate the families. That is permitted under Islamic law. Negotiating with terrorists again. The EU is going to continuously get hammered each time they do this. Then one day they’ll simply invoke the NATO charter and we are going to get involved in it. If it were me I would have just moved a carrier into range, gotten the 101st ready to deploy and then TOLD them to give them back. But thats just me. They are getting away with this kind of crap because we let them.

    Time to reach out and touch someone.

  4. #4 Phil
    June 21, 2007

    Yeah, nice one Mr Kruger, because the process of threating other countires with punishment and violence always results in nice predictable outcomes that always line up with the aggressor’s interest.
    I mean, history really has never shown us any different, has it?


  5. #5 revere
    June 21, 2007

    Randy: Please. We are trying to save their lives.

  6. #6 Gag Halfrunt
    June 21, 2007

    The Guardian today has details of the planned finanacial settlement:

    Neither Libya nor the European Commission is prepared to discuss the Benghazi International Fund, set up at the UK’s urging. But the Guardian has learned that it is now worth about $50m (�25m), with contributions still coming in. Part of it consists of Libya’s state debt to Bulgaria, which is to be written off. The money would be used to fund medical treatment in Europe, medical facilities in Benghazi and a national HIV/Aids awareness campaign in Libya. The families have received smaller sums through civil cases.

  7. #7 Gag Halfrunt
    June 21, 2007

    Some of the text seems to be mangled. It should read “£25m” (25 million pounds).

  8. #8 Eamon Knight
    June 24, 2007

    So basically, the Libyans are trying extortion and getting away with it. Sucks, though from our POV (ie. civilized nations where some semblance of justice, due process, and rule of law still survives) I suppose we can write it off as foreign aid. But I perversely hope it comes back to haunt the Libyan govt in the form of reluctance of foreign health professionals to come work there (“perversely”, because I probably shouldn’t wish that: the wrong people will pay the price).

  9. #9 revere
    June 24, 2007

    Eamon: If the result is that 400 children get the antiviral therapy they need to lead a more or less “normal” life and the health workers are freed it is a lot better than what we have now, on both sides of the issue. At the moment we need to be focused on getting the T6 free. The situation is still fraught with danger for them.

  10. #10 Eamon Knight
    June 24, 2007

    Revere: Oh, I agree. I’m just hoping that over the longer term, it is somehow made clear to the Libyan government that they can’t just scapegoat some random foreigner to cover their own screw-ups.

  11. #11 M. Randolph Kruger
    July 11, 2007

    It is now late afternoon in Libya. The court was to rule today on the fate of the hostages that are being illegally held in Tripoli.

    What say they?

  12. #12 revere
    July 11, 2007

    See today’s (7/11/07) post at 07:57 AM EDST.