Stranger Fruit

The Tripoli Six

From Declan Butler in this week’s Nature:

Lawyers defending six medical workers who risk execution by firing squad in Libya have called for the international scientific community to support a bid to prove the medics’ innocence. The six are charged with deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV at the al-Fateh Hospital in Benghazi in 1998, so far causing the deaths of at least 40 of them.

On 28 August, when the prosecution was scheduled to close its case, the Libyan prosecutor called for the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to be sentenced to death. Attorneys from Lawyers Without Borders, who are handling the defence of the six, have responded by calling for the international community to request that the court order an independent scientific assessment, by international AIDS experts, of how the children became infected.

Read more here. My SciBlings will no doubt add more commentary anon and PZ aleady has something up.  

Nature has also dedicated an editorial to this lunacy:

[S]cientists should lend their full support to the call by Lawyers without Borders a volunteer organization that last year helped win the freedom of Amina Lawal, who had been sentenced to death in Nigeria for having a child outside marriage that Libya’s courts should order a fully independent, international scientific assessment of how the children were contaminated.

Echoing Bora, here’s what you can do:

First, ask your congresscritters what are they going to do about this – are they going to put international pressure on Libya to release the prisoners? [After all, if this was a bunch of Americans, there would be cruise missiles heading towards Tripoli as we speak/type - jml]

Second, e-mail this story to friends and, if you have a blog, write a post about this. Make sure that you have the words “Tripoli Six” in your post so that it gets picked up by Technorati and Google blogsearch engines.

Folks, the blogosphere/internets is a wonderful thing – let’s try and leverage it for some good. Collectively, we can make a difference – one literally of life and death – here.