Adventures in Ethics and Science

Almost a year ago, I learned about the case of the Tripoli six, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician in Libya sentenced to death for infecting hundreds of children with HIV despite the fact that the best scientific evidence indicated that the children were infected due to negligence in the hospital well before these health care workers even arrived in Libya.

I asked you to write letters on behalf of the Tripoli six, in the hopes that they might get another trial in which the scientific evidence mattered to the verdict. Good people that you are, I know that lots of you did write letters.

The new trial resulted in another conviction, and another death sentence. Under intense international scrutiny, the Libyan Supreme Council commuted the death sentences to life sentences. And finally today, I was pleased to hear on the BBC (because the U.S. media, like the U.S. government, has not regarded this as a story worth following), the five nurses and one physician were extradited to Bulgaria, pardoned, and freed.

After being imprisoned for eight years, the Tripoli six are now free. International attention certainly played a part in bringing about this resolution, especially the efforts of Revere and Declan Butler in getting the medical and scientific communities to raise their voices.

To every one of you who added your voice to the call for justice, thank you.


  1. #1 James
    July 25, 2007

    In fairness to the US news media, I did find this on CNN:

    I guess the question before us is, how do we stop this sort of thing from happening in the future? (Or should we? Do we have a right to tell other countries how to run themselves, even if they are affecting foreign citizens?)

  2. #2 Christine
    July 25, 2007

    Another comment regarding media coverage, I did hear quite a bit about this story on National Public Radio.

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