UPDATE – 7/26/07: Woah there! Was the real price for freedom a Libyan nuclear reactor courtesy of France?
Nicolas Sarkozy faced a barrage of criticism yesterday for agreeing to build a nuclear reactor in Libya as concern grew over the price extracted by Colonel Gaddafi for the release of five Bulgarian nurses this week.
Opponents said that the French President had effectively exchanged the nurses and their colleague, a Palestinian doctor, for nuclear technology.
Original Post: After 8 long years in prison, torture, and death sentences, they have finally been pardoned and flew to Bulgaria within the past few hours.
The medics had been used as scapegoats after Libyan medical practices caused the spread of HIV among hospitalized Libyan children.
After paying a huge ransom (the final amount came to about $1M per infected child) for the repeal of their death sentences, the EU was then forced to agree to normalize relations with Libya in order to secure their freedom.
Libya said it ordered their release after it was satisfied the conditions it laid down for extradition had been met. “We received guarantees for the normalisation of relations with European countries, and for a partnership agreement with the European Union,” a Libyan official told AFP.
Libya will spin the end of the 8-year travesty as showing its magnanimous nature, but as I’ve said before, medical personnel worldwide need to learn a lesson from this, and give one as well. Stay away from Libya, a country run by thugs.
My older posts on this subject here.
UPDATE: For a good summary of the whole affair, see Science. I forgot to mention that late in the game Libya had even started to bring ridiculous accusations of bioterrorism in this case. Also, it appears that no money may have changed hands last week when the death sentence was lifted. Rather, the EU may have granted debt relief to Libya. So far, taking hostages has turned out to be a big win for Libya all around.