On December 19, 2006 six foreign medical workers, Kristiyana Valtcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka, Snezhana Dimitrova and Ashraf al-Hajuj were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad by a Libyan court.
The six health workers were accused of conspiring to deliberately infect 426 Libyan children with the HIV virus.
This is the second sentencing, as an earlier death sentence was overturned by the Libyan Supreme Court in 2005.
Now, Euroscience, a pressure group promoting the responsible use of science and the conduct of researchers is calling on academic and scientific organizations to protest the sentence in the hope that the convictions can be quashed.
Enric Banda, Euroscience President, stated that “It is a tragedy that children have been infected by HIV virus at a hospital in Libya, but it is against justice to accuse a group of health workers for this incident when strong scientific evidence shows that they could not be responsible for the origin of this infection.” As Sciencebase reported previously, incontrovertible evidence suggests that the infections began long before the six Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor had ever entered the hospital.
Euroscience is among several organizations appealing to Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi to overturn the latest sentence. The European Parliament has initiated a petition, while the Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht has called on the EU to impose sanctions on Libya over the case.