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WCC appeals to Libyan leader for clemency

24 May 2005

"I write to you on behalf of the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 347 member churches from all over the world.

We are deeply disturbed at the sentencing to death of six health workers, including five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor, by the Court in Libya. The six health workers who worked at a childrens' hospital in Benghazi have been charged with causing the death of 40 children and of infecting almost 400 others with HIV.

The World Council of Churches is opposed to capital punishment. It believes that all human beings created in God's image have inherent dignity and are of infinite worth and that the taking of human life is against the will of God. The capital punishment operates against the Christian principles of compassion and love dear to all religions. As long-standing advocate for the abolishment of capital punishment the Council has consistently urged governments to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that aim at the abolition of the death penalty.

We therefore appeal to your Excellency on humanitarian grounds to grant clemency and spare the lives of Kristiana Vulcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka, Snezhana Dimitrova and Ashraf al-Hajuj.

WCC member churches throughout the world would appreciate the gesture of clemency on the part of Your Excellency."

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

"I write to you on behalf of the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 347 member churches from all over the world.

We are deeply disturbed at the sentencing to death of six health workers, including five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor, by the Court in Libya. The six health workers who worked at a childrens' hospital in Benghazi have been charged with causing the death of 40 children and of infecting almost 400 others with HIV.

The World Council of Churches is opposed to capital punishment. It believes that all human beings created in God's image have inherent dignity and are of infinite worth and that the taking of human life is against the will of God. The capital punishment operates against the Christian principles of compassion and love dear to all religions. As long-standing advocate for the abolishment of capital punishment the Council has consistently urged governments to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that aim at the abolition of the death penalty.

We therefore appeal to your Excellency on humanitarian grounds to grant clemency and spare the lives of Kristiana Vulcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka, Snezhana Dimitrova and Ashraf al-Hajuj.

WCC member churches throughout the world would appreciate the gesture of clemency on the part of Your Excellency."

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary
World Council of Churches