Libya releases wrongly imprisoned nurses/doctor

*Six foreign medics jailed in Libya for infecting hundreds of children with HIV have been released after an international drive to secure their freedom.

The five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor left Tripoli early this morning, accompanied by Cécilia Sarkozy, the French President’s wife. They were pardoned by Georgi Parvanov, the Bulgarian President, once they had arrived in Sofia.

The six, who were convicted of deliberately infecting more than 400 children at a Benghazi hospital, insisted that they were tortured into false confessions soon after their arrests in 1999. *

From the Times

I just heard about this! This is just great, great news. I’m not really sure what’s up with the role of the French First Lady in this situation, but I guarantee she’s just made herself the most popular person in Bulgaria.

OH THANK GOD! I actually did my presentation for my Islam and the Middle East class on this case. I’m so happy they finally got out and away!

For those who don’t know…5 Bulgarian nurses, 1 Palestinean MD. Convicted of infecting children with AIDS. In an area with many sub-Saharan African guest workers (who unfortunately are often HIV infected). Qaddafi’s line was that the Mossad had given all of them (the health care workers) bribes to infect the kids. Nevermind that all of those children were sharing needles and IV tubing. Incidentally, the amount of blood money he wanted for them was about as much as he’d had to pay for the Pan Am/Lockerbie settlement!

The nurses were sentenced to death twice.

Oh, I am so happy right now!

That’s good to hear!

Qaddafi is blackmailing scum, but I’m glad they’re finally freed.

This would make me uneasy, somehow…

Don’t forget that there was evidence that the kids were infected before the nurses and doctor ever set foot in the country.

This is fantastic news.

Did Khaddafi grow a conscience, or did someone pay the blood money?

I believe it was blood money, to the tune of several hundred million dollars, IIRC.

I’ve been following this for months, & I’m glad they are home.

And Qadaffi needs killin’.

His disavowal of nuclear ambitions is the sole success of US foreign policy in the last 6 years. You sure you want to kill that?

I’m really glad that they’ve been released, and am right now raising a glass of wine to them for all that they’ve been through.

The job of President of any country cannot be easy, but I’ll bet that the opportunity to “pardon” the doctor and five nurses will prove to be one of the least controversial actions of Georgi Parvanov’s career. :wink:

Although I’m concerned about the implications of extortion, if the result is that the EU will help medical facilities in Libya (per Kyla’s Times link), there could at least be some long-term good that comes out of this terrible situation. North Africa is right in the EU’s back yard, and improved relations can only be a good thing. (Kh-/Q-/G-)addafi isn’t going to run Libya for ever, and good relations with the EU may help shape future political trends.

Did anyone else notice in Cecil’s article that he referenced Maclean’s while talking about American spellings? I’m depressed – the Perfect Master making a silly mistake like that!

Er, why?