Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

April 26, 2007

Families of Bulgarian nurses meet France’s presidential candidates

Filed under: HIV,Justice,Libya,Uncategorized — admin @ 7:28 pm

The families of the Bulgarian nurses met today in Paris separately with Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. Both candidates pledged to make resolution of the case a priority if elected, and to have it on the agenda at the next EU summit on 22 June. This high-level political support is a very important, and welcome, development in the case.

It’s a pity therefore that there is a slightly bitter aftertaste of political recuperation. TF1, one of the main national TV channels here, again demonstrated its political impartiality by running images of the meeting with Sarkozy as headline evening news, but failing to even mention that the nurses’ families met with Royal. Both meetings were arranged by a coalition of European NGOs and individuals, of which I’m part of.

Moreover the families also met, not only with Royal, but Jack Lang, Royal’s adviser — who a few weeks ago visited the nurses in their prison in Libya — and Robert Badinter, who as Socialist interior minister under Mitterrand, abolished the death penalty in France, and has long been a solid supporter of the nurse’s case, and also contributed his political sagesse and experience to the cause. Political credit should be given in such human rights issues — even by electoral and parochial TF1 — where it is due.

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