When denying science is a matter of life and death

I write a lot here about science denial, and it's been pointed out previously that denying that HIV causes AIDS, for instance, is deadly quackery. Now, via Nature write and blogger Declan Butler and Nature magazine comes news of another form of science denial revolving around HIV: the 7-year imprisonment and torture of six medical workers in Libya (the "Tripoli six"), falsely accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV. In his blog post, Butler asks, "Can the blogosphere help free the Tripoli six?"

(More below...)

This mess began back in 1999, and now the six face execution before a firing squad in Libya. This, despite the fact that HIV experts (including HIV co-discoverer Luc Montagnier) issued a report supporting the medical workers' claims of innocence, and concluding that the HIV infections were due to poor hygiene standards in the hospital (including the re-use of needles). However, these medical workers are foreigners (Bulgarian and Palestinian), and are being scapegoated rather than have the hospital own up to its own poor practices. (There were more than a dozen cases already in the hospital prior to the arrival of the medical workers, documented in the Montagnier report linked above). That they remain imprisoned despite scientific evidence of their innocence is beyond a travesty of justice. And worst, few people seem to care. I generally follow topics like this, and I've not heard a word of this before yesterday.

For those of you with blogs, you can work to spread the word. Butler wonders if we can help. I don't know, but we certainly can give it a shot. So spread the word. Contact lawyers wtihout borders (Babelfish translation; original French here). Contact your Senators. Contact your representatives. Let them know about this issue. As noted in the Nature editorial, "The principles of law and science have the common aim of discovering the truth." In this case, the court hasn't even allowed the science to be presented--a travesty for both science and the law.

More like this

This is absolutely unacceptable. 6 medical workers are on trial in Libya under the accusation of infecting children with HIV, and if convicted they could be executed. While expert testimony and scientific evidence was presented at the trial, this evidence was thrown out from a combination of…
Very serious stuff today, folks. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician remain imprisoned in Libya, where they have been since 1999 based on trumped-up charges that they infected with HIV some 400 patients. Misinterpretation and translation mistakes of a key scientific report appear to…
I wrote last week about the Tripoli Six, six health care workers who were jailed by Libya on trumped up charges of infecting patients at a hospital they worked at with HIV. Since then, many other have chimed in, and the most recent count of blog posts about this case is well over 100. According to…
As the October 31 date for the resumption of the trial of the Tripoli 6 looms, the world scientific community is weighing in. From the ScienceNow section of the journal Science: U.S. scientists are adding their voices to mounting international pressure on Libya to release six foreign medical…

For anyone in the UK try www.writetothem.com to send a fax to your MP. Hopefully yours is more responsive and rational than the lazy sack of s**t who represents my constituency...

(Copying the opening two paragraphs from the Nature article might get their attention)

Speaking of denial, the President of Shell Oil has come out and said that "...the debate over Global Warming is over. The science has matured..."