This is the third and final favour I’m asking of my readers (for the moment!).
Janet has posted a reminder that the trial of the Tripoli Six is scheduled to resume in just a few weeks, on October 31, so the time for action is now.
Like Janet, I’m asking you to write an actual, dead-trees-and-ink letter. Janet has provided an example letter, and some updates to the contact information that Mike posted earlier; I’m going to try to make it even easier. It’s best if you write something in your own words, but even if you copy someone else’s letter verbatim (and that fact is noticed) it will still make an impression. So here’s a letter you can send:
I am writing to express grave concern over the upcoming trial in Libya of six foreign nationals, five nurses and a doctor, who have been accused of deliberately infecting children with HIV while working at al-Fateh Hospital in Benghazi in 1998. You have probably seen editorials in Nature1 and in the NY Times2, and a public letter from the UK Royal Society3; all of these prominent persons and publications have condemned the trial in the strongest possible terms.
During the original trial in 2004, a scientific investigation4 by pre-eminent HIV/AIDS researchers Luc Montagnier (Pasteur Institute) and Vittorio Colizzi (Tor Vergata University) concluded that the children were infected long before the medics came to Libya. The Libyan court rejected these findings in favour of an investigation by Libyan doctors whose impartiality and scientific credentials are in doubt. A new, impartial investigation is crucial, as is a commitment by the Libyan court to admit its findings as evidence.
I write therefore to ask you to do all that you can to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on Libya and ensure a fair trial for the Tripoli Six.
and here are the addresses to which you should send copies:
1. your own representatives; you can find their contact details through Congress.org or Project Vote Smart, using just your zip code. If you don’t know your zip code, you can find that out from the USPS using your address.
2. U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Chair: Sen. Richard Lugar
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225
3. U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on International Relations
Chair: Rep. Henry Hyde
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
4. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
5. Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
If you want to do more, Janet has further details, but I have laid it all out as simply as possible. Copy my letter, or write your own, and send it to those addresses (I don’t think it matters much if you write it out once, photocopy it and then just fill in the addressee’s name and your signature).
I don’t know about you, but when the verdict comes in on the Tripoli Six, I want to know that I did what I could to help them get a fair trial.