For years now, I've been following the story of the Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya. Six Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor were accused of deliberately infecting over 400 children with HIV as part of a Western plot to undermine Muslims in Libya, despite the fact that A. that's ridiculous and B. impartial HIV experts tested the strains and determined that the infections had begun before the seven started working at the hospital, and cited poor sanitary conditions as the cause. It strikes me as a classic example of an African government denying and AIDS crisis (for a long time, South African officials refused to recognize HIV as the causative agent of AIDS), but this one has the added twist of assigning blame to foreign medical workers. At one point, the medics confessed, but later stated that they were tortured and raped prior to confessing. They were sentenced to death. Their sentence was later reduced to life in prison, and this week, after over eight years in a Libyan prison, they were finally returned to Bulgaria and freed.
I have many thoughts on this subject, (one being why the heck it took 8 years for the international community to apply enough pressure to get the nurses released) but I'd just like to send a congratulations message to the medical personnel involved. I hope that their lives can get back to normal, somehow. I'd also like to send a big old FUCK YOU to Libya. This is how they treat their international health workers? Career-wise, I'm very interested in projects designed to combat infection disease in third world countries, but I'll tell you right now that I'll never set foot in that shithole of a nation.