26 July 2007

HIV children's families protest medics' release

The Libyan Association for the Families of HIV-Infected Children has protested against the pardon granted by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to the six Bulgarian medics convicted in Libya of deliberately infecting the 438 children with HIV. The association has released a statement saying the pardon shows disrespect towards Muslims, and calling for Libya to break off relations with Bulgaria.

Each of the victims' families have received compensation of US $1 million (Canadian $1,054,000) from an international fund (BBC).

It's strange to see this accusation coming from the victims' families, given that, under Islamic law, a murderer is released following the payment of compensation. So, even if the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian-Bulgarian doctor accused of infecting the children were guilty, the compensation should have settled the case under the Shari'a. Now, I know Libya is not run by Shari'a rules, but the family's self-identification as disrespected Muslims calls their protest into question.

Further, if anyone should be blamed for this sordid mess, it's obviously Muammar al-Gaddafi and the rest of the Libyan leadership, who tried to make scapegoats out of the six medics for domestic consumption, and then traded them to Bulgaria in exchange for better ties with the EU.

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