Andrea Bottaro posted Entry 2778 on December 19, 2006 08:29 AM.
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The 5 Bulgarian and 1 Palestinian health workers accused of having infected Lybian patients with the HIV virus were found guilty and sentenced to death today in Tripoli, despite international outcry and molecular phylogenetic evidence demonstrating their innocence. As much as it is tempting to snarkily frame this as a court victory for anti-evolution forces, the situation is too serious.

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Comment #151002

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on December 19, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

Hopefully something will happen and these innocent health workers will get to leave Libya alive and in one piece.

Comment #151003

Posted by Warren on December 19, 2006 11:10 AM (e)

Welcome to the future of the US, if the religious idiots have their way.

Comment #151019

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on December 19, 2006 11:32 AM (e)

Welcome to the future of the US, if the religious idiots have their way.

To be fair, the Lybian government is fairly secular, especially as far as Arab countries go. It is true however, that this is the kind of thing that can be expected when scientific evidence is disregarded for politically opportunistic reasons.

Those interested in the issue can also watch the documentary “Injection” which deals with the larger issue of iatrogenic HIV infection and the Tripoli 6 case.

Comment #151020

Posted by William E Emba on December 19, 2006 11:37 AM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

As much as it is tempting to snarkily frame this as a court victory for anti-evolution forces, the situation is too serious.

Which is precisely why it should be framed as the victory for antiscientific moronitude that it is. Make it as loud and clear as much as possible that rejection of the scientific method leads to this kind of bloodthirsty murderous travesty.

Congratulations, Discovery Institute! You’ve got your wedge and vise strategies working somewhere. Today Libya, tomorrow the world.

Comment #151029

Posted by SteveF on December 19, 2006 12:27 PM (e)


“Libya says that it will not bow to international pressure over death sentences passed on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor.”

Comment #151037

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on December 19, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

From the AP story:

The verdict, which will be automatically referred to Libya’s Supreme Court, drew quick condemnation from European nations, which have charged that the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were being made scapegoats. A Western medical study, released too late for the trial, said the infections occurred before the medical workers came to Libya.

The United States and European Union had called for the release of the defendants, warning that the case would affect Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s effort to repair his rogue image and rebuild ties with the West.

But Libyans strongly supported a conviction. A few dozen relatives of infected children — about 50 of whom have died of AIDS — waited outside the court holding poster-sized pictures of their children and placards reading “Death for the children killers” and “
HIV made in Bulgaria.”

After the verdict, the crowd chanted “Execution! Execution!”

“God is great!” yelled Ibrahim Mohammed al-Aurabi, the father of an infected child, as soon as the presiding judge finished reading the verdict. “Long live the Libyan judiciary!”

The nurses and doctor have been in jail since 1999 on charges that they intentionally spread the AIDS virus to more than 400 children at a hospital in the city of Benghazi during a botched experiment to find a cure for the disease.

Western nations blame the infections on unsanitary conditions at Libyan hospitals and accuse Tripoli of using the six workers as scapegoats.

Bulgaria and the EU swiftly condemned the verdict.

“Sentencing innocent people to death is an attempt to cover up the real culprits and the real reasons for the AIDS outbreak in Benghazi,” Bulgaria’s parliament speaker, Georgi Pirinski, said in the capital, Sofia.

Comment #151078

Posted by MelM on December 19, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

I saw an Amnesty International spokesman say that the court refused to allow important scientific evidence to be heard. This is a stronger version of the story than “ignore”. So, I’ll be interested to find out just why the court refused to hear the evidence. Was it because scientific evidence of any kind had the potential to unambiguously expose a preposterous verdict or was it because they knew the evidence was coming from evolution science? Either way, it’s an outrage. But, I wonder if we’ll ever know for sure. If the judges were afraid of a religious backlash if evolution based science were allowed in court, it’s hard to see how this verdict is going to be overturned. If Bulgaria can pull off a commando raid to get these people out, I’m all for it. I’ve no interest in appeasing cults any further: they’re a menace to civilization. If the EU and the U.S. do nothing to punish Libya for this disgusting episode, we should be ashamed.

According to a CNN story, Condoleezza Rice said the United States is
“very disappointed with the outcome”. An EU spokesman “condemned” the verdict. The State Dept. should have expressed some form of moral outrage. And, for not doing so, I condemn the State Dept.

Comment #151113

Posted by Oldfart on December 19, 2006 8:01 PM (e)

They won’t waste any time executing these innocents to salve the rage of the muslim morons. Time to lend the Bulgarians a couple of Seal Teams to bring them out.

Comment #151121

Posted by Crudely Wrott on December 19, 2006 9:12 PM (e)

It’s not only that in any given human population there is a surfeit of those who take it upon themselves to explain the mysteries of existence. It is also, and the more sorrowful, that there are exponentially more who will nod sagely and agree. Two hyperbolic ingredients that irritate the faithful to the point that they will do harm to the infidel from over the hill.

I guess if you couple widespread ignorance of contemporary knowledge, iron-handed state rule, the sense that “we Lybians have only begun so save (read “mimic”) face and must insist that we speak truly,” with the notion that science is merely another political tool like someone else’s life, you can expect this sort of thing. Another entry into the log of things we should have learned to avoid.

The good news is that such people become somewhat more predictable than your basic infidel …

Comment #151123

Posted by Crudely Wrott on December 19, 2006 9:40 PM (e)

I’m sorry, it’s “Libyans.”

Comment #151149

Posted by Katarina on December 20, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

From the CNN article:

Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi has been a center for anti-Gadhafi Islamic fundamentalist groups in the past and an innocent verdict could fuel opposition to the government – particularly if conditions at the hospital were to blame for the infections.

Aha. So Gadhafi has to decide between compromising diplomatic relations with the West or taking the risk of being overthrown. Let’s see.. what’s good for the country, versus what’s good for Gadhafi.

From what I hear Gadhafi is a strange character. When he visited former Yugoslavia, I’m told, he refused to accept the hotel accomodations provided for him. Instead, the government had to set up a big tent for him and his people. However, he is one of the few leaders, especially Arab, to have condemned the bombing of Serbia by NATO. Strange guy. Hard to know what he’ll do. Still, I don’t think he’ll let the medics be executed with the whole world watching.

It is a good sign that the case is still dragging out, still has a few more steps to go. Personaly, I am optimistic.

We must keep writing our representatives, keep up the pressure. Those medics aren’t Americans, but if enough Americans care about their fate, it will matter.

Comment #151152

Posted by Katarina on December 20, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

As far as the content of the letters, besides expressing outrage, I am not sure what specific actions we could ask for. I would hate to see the Lybian people punished for their government’s heavy-handedness, and I don’t believe in the effectiveness of bullying measures.

I think the Bulgarians should have accepted Gadhafi’s offer for the families of the victims to be compensated, and be done with it. Heck, we could start a fund, give them all the money they need, just let the damn medics go! Proving their innocence in a Lybian court is irrelevant if the court refuses to see relevant evidence is a matter of silly pride.

Comment #151225

Posted by brightmoon on December 20, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

“It is true however, that this is the kind of thing that can be expected when scientific evidence is disregarded for politically opportunistic reasons”

my 1st rxn ..omigod

this IS what happens when ideology trumps science ..people die …they unfortunately will not be the first (lysenkoism)……hopefully the more honest of the religious will demand that they be freed …..