Adventures in Ethics and Science

You may remember the plight of the Tripoli Six (also known as the Benghazi Six), the physician and five nurses on trial in Libya for infecting 400 children in the hospital where they were working with HIV even though there is overwhelming evidence that the most likely route of infection was poor hospital hygeine, probably before any of these six health care workers even set foot in Libya. (Nature provides details of the scientific analysis of the evidence in this PDF.)

While the public outcry from the scientific community in support of the Tripoli Six has been great, those watching the trial still anticipate a guilty verdict — which could bring a death sentence — on December 19. So once again, I’m asking you to stand up and add your voice to the call for justice here:

Please take the time to contact people in power and tell them this issue matters! Taking the time to write a real letter, on real paper, will give your message more weight, but if you absolutely can’t do that, please place a phone call, or send a fax, or send an email.

I posted the basic text of the letters I sent here, along with a list of people to whom letters ought to be sent. Feel free to adapt that text of my letter to make it your own. Also, as Revere notes:

We remind all bloggers, letter writers and anyone else that expresses an opinion about this to heed the prudent advice of those long involved in these kinds of cases: the objective is to help our colleagues held prisoner and under threat of a death sentence. It is not to relieve our own feelings. Governments don’t usually respond to abuse or condemnation. Nor is it necessary. The science speaks loudly enough on behalf of these medical workers, but it must be heard by the Libyan authorities who have it in their power to assure a fair and just outcome to this this tragedy.

(Bold emphasis added.)

The earlier list of U.S. legislative contacts is still a reasonable set of addresses to deal with, despite the fact that the majority has shifted in both houses and there will be new committee chairs. This may be a golden opportunity for the outgoing majority to do something really important while they still officially hold the majority.

Thank you for your efforts here, and know how proud I am of all of you taking the time to make your voice heard.