I don’t know what my tens of readers can do that Nature‘s millions (?) of readers can’t, but Declan and everybody else is right — we have to try.
Briefly: five nurses and a physician are in danger of being executed by Libya for deliberately infecting children with HIV while working at al-Fateh Hospital in Benghazi in 1998. The court rejected an investigation by Luc Montagnier and Vittorio Colizzi (full report here, pdf) which found that the infections were in fact caused by poor hospital practices. The science is being ignored in favour of the political expediency of blaming some foreigners for an internal problem (the nurses are Bulgarian, the doctor Pakistani). The Libyans are not the only parties guilty of racism here: can you imagine the outcry if the nurses were, say, British and the doctor American?
This is utterly unacceptable to law, science and common decency. Please do what you can. I’ve swiped the contact information below from Mike; in addition to letters/faxes/phone calls to the people he suggests, consider supporting Advocats Sans Frontieres and, if you have a blog, writing about the case (as Bora suggests, make sure you have the words “Tripoli Six” in your entry so that Google/Technorati etc will pick it up).
People to contact:
1: Libya. This is probably going to be the least
effective, but it’s still worth a try – and you never know, it might
just work. The Libyans have invested a huge amount of effort in trying
to regain international respect, so there’s at least a small chance
that they might be responsive.
I’d suggest mailing letters to a Libyan embassy. For Americans, the best choice would be the Libyan UN Mission.
Mission of Libya to the United Nations
309 – 315 East 48th Street,
New York, NY 10017
The phone number for the UN mission is: (212) 752-5775
Email: The Center for Nursing Advocacy has an online form and form letter.
The email address that they are using is: firstname.lastname@example.org I have not used
that address myself, and cannot vouch for whether or not it works.
2: Your own Congresscritters.
Get in touch with your own representatives. Feel free to remind them
that you vote in their districts (if this is true.) Contact them even
if their political views are totally opposed to your own, and
particularly if they also sit on a key committee.
As long as you know your zip code, this website will quickly provide you with the contact information for your representatives.
3: Key congressional committees.
Contact the majority and minority leaders of the House Committee on
International Relations and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees.
Committee Chair: Richard Lugar
Ranking Member: Joseph Biden
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225
Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651
Minority Phone: (202) 224-3953
Chair: Henry Hyde
Ranking Member: Tom Lantos
House Committee on International Relations
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5021
Fax: (202) 225-2035
4: Executive Branch Officials.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500