evolgen

Five nurses and one doctor have been imprisoned in a Libyan jail since 1999, accused of infecting more than 400 children with HIV. They were condemned to death in 2004, but the verdict was overturned. Their retrial is due to wrap up very soon, and they await their new sentencing. The problem: the scientific evidence indicates that the medics were not responsible for the infections, but the Libyan courts threw out that evidence. For more information, please read the news item in Nature as well as this editorial.

The blogosphere has been quite active in the cause to free the Tripoli six (the name given to these medical workers). Declan Butler, a senior reporter for Nature, has written about this on his blog. He has also compiled a list of links to the coverage. I particularly like what Revere at Effect Measure has to say:

This is not just a human rights story, although if it were “just” that it would have a major claim on our interests and our hearts. But it is also a science story: how scientific evidence, presented by one of the world’s leading HIV scientists, was rejected out of hand, the only exculpating evidence possible in favor of these five nurses and a doctor.

This is an issue involving human rights. This is an issue involving respect for science. And this is an issue involving the judicial process. We should all care about these things, especially human rights. If you would like to help out with this matter, Mike Dunford has some suggestions.