Libya and the EU

August 10, 2007

Maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough, but where has the discussion over the rather untoward resolution of the Bulgarian nurse death sentence crisis been? For those of you who haven’t been following along, I’d recommend you read this Wikipedia article. Allow me to summarize, in brief.

HIV breaks out at a children’s hospital in Libya staffed mostly by Bulgarian doctors. The Libyan government, seeking a scapegoat to avoid the embarrassing truth that the outbreak was caused by awful hygiene protocols, chooses the foreign doctors. It trumps up highly dubious charges and sentences the medics to death. There is enough of an international outcry that eventually the sentences are commuted to life imprisonment, and then the EU secures the medics’ release to Bulgaria.

Ultimately, is it a good thing these people are alive? Absolutely. But the more details that have emerged since their release, the more unseemly the whole thing gets. First, France’s Sarkozy, shortly after his wife helped to secure the Bulgarians’ release, meets with Libya’s Ghaddafi, and announces arms and nuclear power deals. I understand that carrots are probably preferred to sticks when dealing with a nutjob like Moammar Ghaddafi, but jeez. Then it came out Thursday that Ghaddafi’s son has now admitted that the medics definitely were tortured, as they alleged. And for it, being richly rewarded. I am not sure there was any better way to handle it, but it makes me faintly ill, nonetheless.