Libyan Leader Must ‘Intervene’ To Prevent ‘Miscarriage of Justice’ in Trial of Medical Workers Accused of Infecting Libyan Children With HIV, Editorial Says
If Libya "really wants to repair its tattered relations with the West," Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi "will need to intervene to prevent a terrible miscarriage of justice" after five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor on Tuesday were convicted of intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV, a New York Times editorial says (New York Times, 12/21). A Libyan court sentenced the medical workers to death. New genetic evidence published earlier in the month in the journal Nature found that the HIV outbreak at the hospital began up to three years before the medical workers arrived at the facility (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/19). "With the case against the medical workers so flimsy, if not concocted, it is no wonder that more than 100 Nobel laureates and dozens of other eminent scientists have called for a new and fair trial," the editorial says, adding, "None of the exonerating evidence was even admitted in the latest trial." According to the editorial, the "unfair verdicts" appear to be driven by two factors: that the country is "eager to deflect public outrage by blaming foreigners" for the HIV infections and that the Libyan government is attempting to "extract unwarranted compensation" from Bulgaria. Gaddafi "should urge" the children's families to stop "trying to extort big money," the editorial says, concluding, "An international fund has already been set up to provide medical care for the children and better equipment for the hospital" (New York Times, 12/21).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.