Washington, DC – U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today commended Libya’s High Judicial Council for commuting the death sentences against six foreign medics accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS, but he urged that their prison sentences be lifted so they can finally go home.

“Today’s decision reflects the constructive direction in which Libya appears to be headed,” Lantos said. “Tripoli has taken a small step toward a satisfactory outcome in the case of these six innocent individuals. The final and logical step will be unconditional release so these medics can enjoy the freedom so unjustly taken away from them.”

Lantos, the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, is the leading figure in the U.S. Congress promoting improved relations between Washington and Tripoli. He has visited Libya and met with Colonel Moammar Gadhafi six times since the Libyan leader announced in December 2003 that he was dismantling his country’s nuclear weapons program. As progress on this matter and other issues has continued, Lantos has urged full normalization of ties between Libya and the United States.