Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Libya Commutes Nurses' Death Sentences

The Libyan Judiciary Council decided earlier today to commute the death sentence given to five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with HIV. I emphasize the word "allegedly" because all six are incontrovertibly factually innocent. It is categorically impossible for these six individuals to have committed the crimes for which they were convicted, because clear medical evidence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that many of the children were already infected before the six defendants arrived in Libya. Unless these six brought a time machine with them, they couldn't have done it. Unfortunately, the Libyan government has at this point only commuted the sentence to life in prison, because, rather like the state of Georgia, the courts in Libya are unimpressed by proof of innocence. The whole affair has been a combination of pandering to a mob mentality and extorting blood money from Europe — plus covering up the inadequacy of Libya's own healthcare infrastructure.

Having just seen Michael Moore's Sicko, and watched the Scooter Libby commutation drama unfolding, this story is a harsh reminder that things can be far worse in both healthcare and jurisprudence.

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