Declan Butler, reporter

October 18, 2006

The New York Academy of Sciences writes to Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi

Filed under: HIV,Justice,Libya — admin @ 8:56 pm

The New York Academy of Sciences has let me know that the letter they sent on the Libyan case is now available on the Web here.

I’ve reproduced it below:

October 5, 2006

His Excellency Mu’ammar al’Gaddafi
Leader of the Revolution
Office of the Leader of the Revolution
Tripoli
Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Your Excellency:

I am writing to you as the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the New York Academy of Sciences to commend the Libyan Supreme Court for overturning the death sentence of the five Bulgarian nurses Kristiana Malinova Valcheva, Nasya Stojcheva Nevona, Valentina Maolova Siropulo, Valya Georgieva Chervenyashka an Snezhanka Ivanova Dmitrova, and Palestinian doctor, Ashraf Ahmad Jum’a, who were convicted for deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV in a hospital in Bengazi in 1998.

Expert witnesses, including Dr. Luc Montagnier, the researcher who first isolated the HIV virus, testified that the children’s infections were caused by poor hygiene at the hospital and not an international conspiracy or deliberate actions on the part of the nurses and doctors as the prosecution has claimed. Furthermore, experts assert that the infection already had emerged before the accused started working at the hospital, and continued to spread after they were arrested. However, in the current trial, which is expected to end in November, the testimony of those experts was thrown out by the court with the explanation that a team of Libyan doctors had reached the opposite conclusions. Because the expert testimony was thrown out by the court, it cannot be resubmitted in a subsequent trial.

We appeal to the court that you order an independent scientific assessment as to the cause of the HIV infection in children, so that the accused receive a fair and impartial trial.

I respectfully await your response to this matter of great importance to the international scientific community.

Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization of nearly 26,000 members worldwide committed to advancing science, technology and society.

Sincerely,

Eugene Chudnovsky Chairman, Committee on Human Rights of Scientists

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