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December 20, 2006

Outrage: Tripoli 6 re-sentenced to death

A Libyan court dealt another heartbreaking setback to the Tripoli 6, the foreign healthcare workers wrongfully accused of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV:

A Libyan court today sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death after finding them guilty of deliberately infecting 400 children with the HIV virus.

The presiding judge, Mahmoud Hawissa, read out the verdict in a seven-minute hearing at a Tripoli court, which came at the end of the defendants' second trial.

The six - who had detained for nearly seven years - had previously been convicted and sentenced to death, but Libyan judges granted them a retrial after international protests over the fairness of the proceedings. [Guardian]

The scientific community rallied behind the accused medics. Leading experts on HIV collaborated to empirically absolve them. Bloggers from across the political spectrum also spoke up for science and justice.

There may still be hope for the prisoners. The Libyan supreme court may grant them clemency on appeal. Alternatively, it may be possible to ransom the health care workers by paying "reparations" for the HIV infections.

To learn more about the Tripoli Six and the AIDS transmission tragedy, watch the acclaimed documentary Injection by Mickey Grant.

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Comments

I saw this news on the internet earlier tonight. This is a complete and grevious injustice, a malicious prosecution based upon zero evidence for the "state's case" .

I've seen miles-long threads here on the trivial and the beyond-trivial here, and just a few comments on this issue, despite many a good post upon it. Speak now, or forever hold your peace. If there's ever an issue to speak on it is this, which does not track left or right or "US" "vs" "other" and which will be disserved in a monstrous way by the bringing in of -any- extraneous issue.

This is a grave travesty of justice. EU, USA please grow a set of balls. Majikthise commenters, please do likewise.

Maybe we can have as many comments on this as we've had on whether Judith Regan's firing was justified or whatever other motherfucking bullshit is supposed to be important.

Got that right Phantom. The parties responsible for this that are ignorant or even willfully ignorant about how HIV works are bad enough, but I'm guessing there are some that do understand and are yet willing to use this as agitprop mob baiting. Disgusting.

>Maybe we can have as many comments on this as we've had on

In this case, fewer comments would only indicate our general agreement. But no harm in making it clear: this is deeply wrong.

When is the sentence scheduled to be executed?

It appears that Libya's endgame is to use these six as, essentially, hostages to leverage the payment of great sums of money in order to avoid their execution. No one believes that they are actually going to be executed, at least not anytime soon.

The real deal here, and I think this has been said elsewhere--what happened was just so awful that the Libyan hospital/govt cannot bring itself to admit responsibility. It could lead to real opposition to the govt

So the deflection of responsibility to entirely innocenct parties is the easier course, even as it will can lead to a destroyed relationship with Europe and with the US, which had only very recently been reestablished.

I no longer think moral appeals work with this government.

This is primarily a European issue, and I'd like to see an unpublicized European diplomatic approach, after consultation and support from NATO. The message----free all of them in ninety days or face airtight economic sanctions from the EU and NATO countries.

Gee, I thought the Bushies had done such a wonderful job of bringing Libya to its senses.

I too find this to be a travesty of justice. That being said, there are other issues at play here.

Is the US duty bound to interevene? There are no US citizens involved. Why isn't Bulgaria and Libya's ally, Palestine, calling out Libya on this? Where is the UN?

My concern, as with all interventions by the US, is that we do what is asked of us, but in the future, such actions are used against us to show how the US is the evil bully who imposes its will on other sovereign nations.

While I agree that situations like this and the atrocities in Darfur as awful and need to be stopped, is it the duty of the US to intervene? Do we have a moral obligation to stop the killing or injustice? And if we do, where does it end? Also, if that is the logic used to get the US involved, weren't we then justified in deposing Sadaam, based on his record of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds and the murder thousands of his own people? Just food for thought.

Again, so there is no twisting of my statements, I am AGAINST what Libya is doing and the atrocities in Darfur.

Alon,

the last remaining appeal available to the Tripoli 6 is at Libya's Supreme Court.

Steve

Innocent people are framed and set to be executed and you can't stop having your fun.

Since you force the issue, I will briefly deviate from the proper subject at hand and restate the fact that Libya had a very real WMD program and that due to US and British diplomatic efforts, the WMD plants have been inspected, dissassembled and shipped out of the country for destruction. That is an accomplishment, an all too rare one, but an accomplishment in the mind of any fair and intelligent person.

Issue closed. You are beneath contempt.

----

B-Money

Not sure that it is our duty. But it is something I would want our country to support. The lead has to be from Europe, who is right across the Med from Libya and whose citizens are the ones who would be murdered-hey that's what it would be.

I don't want any ransom/tribute payment of any kind to be made--that is the North African way, and it absolutely encourages future incidents of this type.

This is one of many situations where one can only have contempt for the UN. And the Palestinian Authority. They're all talk and bullshit when an Israeli sargeant looks at them the wrong way, but if a brother Arab state wants to hold a Palestinian for six years and then shoot her in the heart, hey they're cool with that. Go right ahead.


The lead has to be from Europe, who is right across the Med from Libya and whose citizens are the ones who would be murdered-hey that's what it would be.

It's not "Europe's citizens," at least not for the next 11 days. Even then, the EU functions more as an international organization than as a federation or even a confederation on these issues.

They still have an appeal left, at least that will buy them some more time to get freed. It seems the Libyan media has offered them up as sacrificial lambs, and the public there is demanding their heads. I'm really at a loss as to what can further be done for them that hasn't already been tried.

Unfortunately, appeals to morality cannot and will not work with this government.

There is a time for realpolitik in the world, and this is one. A very quiet European led initiative with a message-set them free in 90 days, and improvement in relations will continue. Keep them longer or touch one hair on their heads, and you are the subject of an airtight EU/USA/NATO embargo.

The only realistic hope at this point it would seem is for a bribe/ransom payment to the Libyan government, termed as "reparations" for crimes committed. The Bulgarians have understandably been balking at this, as it would imply an admission of guilt to thoroughly bogus charges. Weighed next to the judicial murder of six innocent people, however, that may be the least bitter of all the available choices.

"There is a time for realpolitik in the world, and this is one."

Any genuine application of 'realpolitik' here would have to start with the admission that precious few states in the world wouldn't be willing to throw six foreigners into a threshing machine in order to retain some lucrative commercial ties.

--precious few states in the world wouldn't be willing to throw six foreigners into a threshing machine in order to retain some lucrative commercial ties.--

I fear you are right, but hope you are not. Lets keep a very close eye on this thing.

For what its worth, President Bush offered his support to the Bulgarian leader yesterday

"And the Palestinian Authority. They're all talk and bullshit when an Israeli sargeant looks at the the wrong way, but if a brother Arab state wants to hold a Palestinian for six years and then shoot her in the heart, hey they're cool with that."

In the PA's defense, it might be argued that being under foreign occupation, on the verge of a civil war, and not having an actual state to boot are all serious impediments to throwing one's weight around on the international stage. There is some truth however to the charge that both Palestinian parties tend to suck up to Arab states, often for little or nothing in return. Aside from the obvious problems of being without power or genuine friends in the world, its worth remembering that since the beginning of their diaspora in 1948, Palestinian refugees have been scattered throughout the M.E. and North Africa, and often dependent for their very existence on the kindness of local despots. And if Arab governments are indifferent to them, the natives are at times openly hostile. (Many of the Lebanese Shi'ites, for instance, openly cheered on Israel's murderous assault on the refugee camps in 1982.)

However horrifying their situation, the Tripoli Six at least have the advantage of being someone's glamorous cause.

Some further reading on a related note, about the Palestinian community in Iraq today:

www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16293250.htm

Cass

I was unaware of the extent of hostility to Palestinians among (some, anyway) Shiites. In Lebanon, what you describe is messed up--I do understand that the PLO acted like they were in charge of the Lebanese, but that is no excuse.

--In the PA's defense, it might be argued that being under foreign occupation, on the verge of a civil war, and not having an actual state to boot are all serious impediments to throwing one's weight around on the international stage.--
The Palestinian in question has been in jail for seven years--the Palestinians have extremely severe problems true but how about a one paragraph statement to the press? Surely they can do that.

The Israeli invasion in 1982 eventually made the Shi'ites hate the Israelis more than Palestinians, to the point where, today, Hizbollah proclaims its brotherhood with the latter nation. The point, however, was that in any part of the world, refugees rarely get a warm welcome from anyone. And despite the anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli demagoguing in most Arab dictatorships, most of those governments don't give a damn about the actual Palestinians themselves, and are perfectly willing to use them as scapegoats for some percieved social ill whenever its convenient for them. And its those same governments the PA is forced to play supplicant to, if it wishes to have any allies at all.

In short: people without a state in today's world have to take friends where they can find them.

HIV, a virus with a relatively straightforward epidemiology and etiology is guarantied fertile pastures as long as people are stupid. The rabies virus tweaks the brain to alter behavior in order to ensure continued transmission, but HIV has no need to, and never will, even if an effective vaccine is eventually developed. Reason, science, and basic public health management will never fully clear the hurdle that combined sexual transmission and human sexual squeamishness sets up. This is hardly the first HIV-related outrage and will definitely not be the last.

you people are such hypocrites, let me kill your babies and then offer u some monies, see how you like it, these 400 let me repeat 400 children were under the care of these barbarians who were paid and are linked to Israel/usa to start of a biological warfare so it will need help from them for medicine and fall on its knees and the public would call for his resignation for lack of medicine and help which it can’t provide. (clever isn’t it) what could be more lower than that, sorry i forgot about you people who see some white skin and think they are innocent, you people are always innocent never do any wrong but killing babies is the lowest of the lowest and anyone helping to change the outcome which they rightly deserve will also be cursed from god’s wrath and will see calamity before they die and after (Inshallah) justice is his name and justice he will do the all knowing all seeing, AMEN.

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