Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I've been waiting to say anything about this, despite the recent hopeful reports, out of a semi-superstitious, believe-it-when-you-see-it, don't get your hopes up, sense of caution. But now it has come true ... the Tripoli Six have been freed.
The death sentences that Libya had imposed for the alleged deliberate infection of hundreds of children with HIV -- clearly the result of poor hygiene starting long before the six's arrival -- was commuted to life imprisonment after millions of dollars were donated to medical care for the children. The Bulgarian government then asked that the five Bulgarian nurses be repatriated, ostensibly so they could serve out their sentences in Bulgaria. The Palestinian doctor was granted Bulgarian citizenship last month to permit him to be included in this deal. Upon reaching Bulgarian soil, the six were immediately pardoned by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.
That in itself is something of a travesty of justice. It is beyond doubt that the six were innocent of the charges and, therefore, there is no need for a pardon. In a ideal ... or maybe that is an idealist ... world, the European Union, with the consent of the rest of the world, would not be normalizing relations with Libya but, instead, would be denouncing the farcical conviction, declaring the absolute innocence of the six and imposing strict sanctions on Libya until it paid steep reparations to them for their years of unjust imprisonment.
Still, the most important thing of all, the freedom of the six, has been achieved and we can be grateful, in a world full of unremarked injustice, for small favors.