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Appeal against death sentence of six health workers in Libya

24 May 2005

Letter to H.E. Mu'ammar al-Gadaffi, Leader of the Revolution of the Great Socialist
People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 24 May, 2005

Your Excellency,

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. Capital
punishment operates against the Christian principles of compassion and love dear
to all religions. As a long-standing advocate for the abolition 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.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary