Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 08:57:39 AM EST
I have been reading this blog for more than a year now (although I don't post for most of the time) and I just realized that there is only one diary covering the fate of the Bulgarian (and Palestinian) medics in Libya, charged with intentionally infecting Libyan children with the virus of HIV. In the light of the "You Are Not Alone" campaign recently started by Bulgarian media, I decided to try and update you on the case as well as make a plea to you.
Brought over by afew
I will not discuss the entire trial against the medics since there is already a fairly good summary of the events up to February, 2006 in JulyMorning's diary Seven Years in Lybia.
In the last year or so, there has been limited, if any, success of the international attempts to free the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor. A fairly large number of international media and public figures joined in the efforts to influence Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and convince him in the innocence of his prisoners - UK medical journal "The Lancet," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, singer Sylvie Vartan, to name a few.
Nonetheless, six days before Christmas, on December 19, 2006 a Libyan court reiterated the sentences of the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor - all six were sentenced to death by firing squad. Bulgaria condemned the verdict as unjust and failing to take into consideration scientific evidence crucial to the court's decision. A number of peaceful street protests ensued in Bulgaria, showing the support of the Bulgarian people for he nurses. About a month later the verdict was appealed to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the EU and US were also quick to state their disagreement with the death sentences. Despite their general disagreement with the judicial process and the verdict, "old" EU countries have been rather mild in visions of sanctions towards Libya. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, for instance, said that:
Italy supports the release of the death-sentenced Bulgarian nurses from prison, but we[Italy] shall not exert pressure or impose economic sanctions on Tripoli.
After the initiation of the "You Are Not Alone" campaign by BTV(tv station), Standart(newspaper), and Darik(radio), even more international support has been gathered for the Bulgarian nurses. Singer George Michael, who is invited to participate in a concert in Bulgaria this May, took heartily to the cause of the campaign and promised to sing Freedom especially for the Bulgarian nurses
. Currently, car stickers, banners, and ribbons with the Bulgarian national flag and the slogan "You Are Not Alone" are distributed for free to anyone willing to join in the campaign. And although most people seem genuinely concerned with the cause of the campaign there is little they can do but wear ribbons on their overcoats and await for the hearing at the Supreme Court.
My plea to you is, and I hope it is not too much to ask, to add the "You Are Not Alone" banner to the European Tribune site. The needed files can be found on the official site of the campaign youarenotalone.com The site also contains some publications and other details concerning the trial and the campaign. However, I would also understand you if you decide not to put on the banner for political, moral, or other reasons.