Thursday, July 19, 2007

$460 million ransom

I had an Al Sharpton moment the other day when this story hit the wires. I am very happy that six innocent good Samaritans won't have to die but paying a $460 million ransom is simply outrageous. Qaddafi is getting off easy as the bin Ladens of the world have made him look comparatively mild.

Why would any organization volunteer to assist in Libya in any way?

The proper response, though clearly beyond the ability of the Bulgarians post cold war, for kidnapping and murder is this.

TRIPOLI, July 17 (Reuters) - Libya lifted death sentences on Tuesday against five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of deliberately infecting children with HIV, paving the way for them to be freed after eight years in jail.

The ruling by Libya's highest judicial body, made possible by a financial settlement of $1 million each to the 460 HIV victims' families, fell short of a hoped-for pardon for the medics, who insist they are innocent. "The High Judicial Council decided to commute the death sentences against the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor to life-imprisonment terms," the judicial body said in a statement. Bulgaria's allies the United States and the European Union have demanded the nurses be freed, and the case has been a major stumbling block to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's return to the international stage after decades of diplomatic isolation.
The six were sentenced to death last year after being convicted of intentionally starting an HIV epidemic at a children's hospital in the city of Benghazi. The medics say confessions central to their case were extracted under torture and that they are innocent. Foreign HIV experts say the infections started before the six arrived at the hospital and were more likely to be the result of poor hygiene.

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