"(CNN) -- Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were pardoned by President Georgi Parvanov upon their arrival in Sofia on Tuesday after spending eight-and-a-half years in prison in Libya.This is a happy ending to a situation than never should have happened. It still smacks of extortion, considering the amount of money paid out incidental to the release, but at least the medical personnel are home and safe.
The medics, who were sentenced to life in prison for contaminating children with the AIDS virus but now maintain their innocence, arrived on board a French presidential plane after the EU agreed a deal with Libya on medical aid and political ties.
The round of negotiations that freed the medics began over the weekend and involved European Union commissioner for foreign affairs, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, chief French presidential aide Claude Gueant and French first lady Cecilia Sarkozy."
I certainly don't want to minimize the horror that the AIDS-infected children are enduring, but it seems pretty clear to most neutral observers that the conditions leading to the infections were in place well before the Bulgarian medics came to work, and that they had nothing to do with causing the infections. They spent over eight years under sentence of death, though. With this situation, and other hostages being taken in other places, it is chilling to consider how this has become "business as usual".