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Russia: Court in Votkinsk sentences man living with HIV to 3 years in jail for biting a policeman

A Russian man with HIV bit a policeman and paid the price
October 23, 2019

Source: Lenta.ru, October 21, 2019 – Google translation, for article in Russian, scroll down

A Russian man with HIV bit a policeman and paid the price

A court in the city of Votkinsk (Udmurtia) found a local resident with HIV infection guilty of violence against a police officer. On Monday, 21 October, reports the press service of the regional management of the Investigative Committee of Russia (MRS).

According to the agency, the incident occurred last January. The policeman made a remark to a man who was intoxicated – and received a bite in return for his right hand. At the same time, the man, knowing that he had HIV infection, “put the policeman in danger of infection by his act.”

Criminal proceedings were instituted against him under part 1 of article 318 (“Use of violence against a representative of authority”) and part 1 of article 122 (“Knowingly putting the other at risk of HIV infection”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. By court decision, the accused received three years in prison in a penal colony .

On April 19, 2018, it was reported that the Petrograd District Court of St. Petersburg sentenced Maksudzhon Sattorov, who bit the policeman during an identity check. The man was found guilty under article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Use of violence not dangerous to life or health against a representative of the authorities”) and a fine of 20 thousand rubles was imposed.


Россиянин с ВИЧ укусил полицейского и поплатился

Суд в городе Воткинск (Удмуртия) признал местного жителя с ВИЧ-инфекцией виновным в применении насилия в отношении полицейского. Об этом в понедельник, 21 октября, сообщает пресс-служба регионального управления Следственного комитета России (СКР).

По данным ведомства, инцидент произошел в минувшем январе. Полицейский сделал замечание мужчине, который находился в состоянии алкогольного опьянения — и получил в ответ укус за кисть правой руки. При этом мужчина, зная о наличии у него ВИЧ-инфекции, «своим поступком поставил полицейского в опасность заражения».

В отношении него были возбуждены уголовные дела по части 1 статьи 318 («Применение насилия в отношении представителя власти») и части 1 статьи 122 («Заведомое поставление другого в опасность заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией») УК РФ. По решению суда обвиняемый получил три года лишения свободы в исправительной колонии общего режима.

19 апреля 2018 года сообщалось, что Петроградский районный суд Санкт-Петербурга вынес приговор Максуджону Сатторову, укусившему полицейского во время проверки документов. Мужчину признали виновным по статье 318 УК РФ («Применение насилия, не опасного для жизни или здоровья в отношении представителя власти») и назначили штраф в 20 тысяч рублей.

US: 26-year-old Florida man charged with alleged HIV non-disclosure

Port Orange man accused of not informing 3 sexual partners of HIV infection
October 18, 2019

Source: WFTV9, October 17, 2019

Port Orange man accused of not informing 3 sexual partners of HIV infection

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A 26-year-old Port Orange man with HIV was charged Thursday with having sex with multiple people without informing them of his infection, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies said GB had sex with three women without notifying them he is HIV positive. They said he was diagnosed in January 2014.

Investigators said one of his ex-girlfriends told them she believed she contracted HIV from him while dating him in 2013.

They said the woman contacted other women who dated him to try to warn them about his status.

Detectives said the woman provided them the names of other women whom she believed he might have infected.

Deputies said they identified three women who dated him and had sex with him without knowing he was HIV positive, one of whom was diagnosed HIV positive in 2017 after dating him in 2016.

GB was booked into the Volusia County Jail on Oct. 1 on unrelated charges. He is being held without bail because of the additional charges.

Detectives said there could be additional victims.

China: New HIV control plan includes provisions for investigation of “deliberate” HIV transmission and mandatory testing of sex workers

China rolls out plan for controlling HIV transmission
October 15, 2019

China rolls out plan for controlling HIV transmission

China has rolled out a plan for the control of HIV transmission in a bid to keep HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country at a low level.

The three-year plan, made by the National Health Commission and nine other government departments, sets a number of goals such as raising the awareness of HIV prevention and control, and educating people on avoiding or reducing unsafe sexual behaviors.

The goals also include detecting and treating as many HIV infection cases as possible, curbing the rise of HIV transmission through sexual behaviors and eliminating mother-to-child transmission.

An HIV prevention education program has been set up, focusing on enhancing individuals’ awareness and strengthening the effect of education measures targeting residents, migrant populations, elderly people and groups at higher risk for HIV.

The plan also requires higher accessibility of condoms in public places such as hotels. Increased efforts should be made to crack down on law violations and crimes that may lead to HIV transmission, according to the plan.

The plan urges expanded HIV testing to detect and treat HIV-infected individuals with utmost efforts as an effective way to curb the rise of sexual transmission of HIV. 

Information on the new provisions is available here: http://www.nhc.gov.cn/jkj/s7925/201910/adc374d0613144b2b7bb5d6c58a60223.shtml

India: Woman seeks legal recourse against partner for alleged HIV non-disclosure

Ahmedabad: ‘My lover is HIV+, please take action
October 15, 2019

Source Times of India, October 15, 2019

Ahmedabad: ‘My lover is HIV+, please take action

AHMEDABAD – Parul (name changed), 37, a resident of  Vastrapur called up Abhayam 181 woman helpline to report a bizarre betrayal. The working woman informed counsellors that her former colleague, a resident of Sola with whom she was in love, is an HIV+ patient. He had allegedly concealed his status from her which resulted in her becoming a patient herself.

She had forgiven him for that but when he dumped her for another woman, she could not contain herself. She told us that she doesn’t want another woman to live her fate,” said a counsellor.

According to Abhayam officials, Parul was married for 12 years. “She came in contact with a man, now 40 years of age, during her earlier job. She fell in love with him and they continued their extramarital affairs as he was also married at that time. The woman has two kids from the marriage.

During a check-up, she was shocked to know that she was HIV+. She confronted the man when he confessed that he had concealed his medical condition,” said an official. Ridden with guilt, the woman took divorce from her husband even as custody of the two kids remained with him. “As she was earning well, the woman started living independently but continued her relationship with the man. Recently, he reduced their meetings and then stopped the relationship altogether. Parul probed further to know that the man is now in another relationship, Parul reportedly approached the Sola resident’s parents and tried to convince them about the dangerous path the man has taken. He had divorced his wife a few years ago. But when the parents did not support her or talk to the man, Parul approached the helpline. “She wanted to approach police for filing a case of cheating and breach of trust. We took her to Sola police station. She has also sought legal recourse,” said an Abhayam counsellor.

[Update]Russia: Woman from Ezhva sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment for allegedly transmitting HIV to her partner

Court of Syktyvkar awaits trial for partner’s HIV infection
October 15, 2019

Source: KOMI.AIF.RU, October 15, 2019 – Google translation, for article in Russian please scroll down. 

A resident of Ezhva was convicted of HIV infection of her lover

The Ezhvinsky District Court sentenced a 43-year-old woman who infected her former partner with HIV.

According to the regional prosecutor’s office, back in 2012, a woman from Ezhva was diagnosed with HIV. Employees of the Republican AIDS Center warned her of criminal liability for knowingly infecting another person with HIV infection, including the obligation to warn sexual partners that she had such a status and the use of barrier contraception.

From September to December 2015, the woman lived with a 30-year-old man who was not infected with HIV. However, the HIV-infected partner did not tell him about her status, repeatedly entered into unprotected sexual intercourse with him, which led to the infection of the man.

Then they parted. The man began to live with another girl, they planned to have a child. In October 2018, the victim passed tests and found out that he was infected with HIV.

“The court found the 43-year-old resident of Ezhva guilty of a crime under part 2 of article 122 of the Criminal Code (infection of another person with HIV infection by a person who knew that he had this disease). The defendant fully admitted her guilt. The court sentenced her to one and a half years imprisonment with a probation period of six months, ”the Komi prosecutor’s office said.

Жительницу Эжвы осудили за заражение любовника ВИЧ-инфекцией

Эжвинский районный суд вынес приговор 43-летней женщине, которая заразила ВИЧ-инфекцией своего бывшего сожителя.

Как рассказали в региональной прокуратуре, ещё в 2012 году у жительницы Эжвы выявили ВИЧ. Сотрудники республиканского СПИД-центра предупредили её об уголовной ответственности за заведомое заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией, в том числе об обязанности предупреждать сексуальных партнёров о наличии у неё такого статуса и использовании средств барьерной контрацепции.

С сентября по декабрь 2015 года женщина проживала с 30-летним мужчиной, который не был заражён ВИЧ-инфекцией. Однако ВИЧ-инфицированная партнёрша не рассказала ему о своём статусе, неоднократно вступала с ним в незащищенную половую связь, что привело к заражению мужчины.

Затем они расстались. Мужчина стал проживать с другой девушкой, они запланировали завести ребёнка. В октябре 2018 года потерпевший сдал анализы и узнал, что заражен ВИЧ-инфекцией.

«Суд признал 43-летнюю жительницу Эжвы виновной в преступлении по ч. 2 ст. 122 УК РФ (заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него этой болезни). Свою вину подсудимая признала полностью. Суд приговорил её к полутора годам лишения свободы условно с испытательным сроком на шесть месяцев», – сообщили в прокуратуре по Коми.


Source: Информационное агентство «Север-Медиа» August 22, 2019

Google translation, for article in Russian, please scroll down

Court of Syktyvkar awaits trial for partner’s HIV infection 

The woman did not warn her cohabitant that she had a dangerous disease, although she knew about it and was responsible for withholding information. The defendant faces a sentence of up to 2 years and 2 months in prison.
The prosecutor’s office of Ezhvinsky district of Syktyvkar sent a criminal case to the court against a 44-year-old local resident accused under part 2 of article 122 of the Criminal Code of infecting another person with HIV infection by a person who knew he had the disease.

During the investigation of the criminal case, it was established that in 2012 the accused was notified by the Republican Centre for AIDS Prevention and Control of her HIV infection and warned of criminal liability for knowingly infecting another person with HIV infection, including the obligation to warn her sexual partners of her illness.

Then, from September 2015 to December 2015, living with a 30-year-old man who was not infected with HIV, she did not notify him of the presence of the disease, which led to the infection of the victim.

After the separation from the accused, the man began to live with the girl he was planning to have a child with. After the tests in October 2018, the man learned that he was infected with HIV.

For committing the above mentioned crime, taking into account the full confession of guilt, the accused faces a penalty of up to 2 years and 2 months in prison, according to the Prosecutor’s Office of Komi.


За заражение партнера ВИЧ-инфекцией сыктывкарку ждет суд

Женщина не предупредила сожителя о наличии у нее опасного заболевания, хотя знала и о нем, и об ответственности за сокрытие информации. Обвиняемой грозит наказание до 2 лет 2 месяцев лишения свободы.

Прокуратурой Эжвинского района Сыктывкара в суд направлено уголовное дело в отношении 44-летней местной жительницы, обвиняемой по ч. 2 ст. 122 УК – заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него этой болезни.

В ходе расследования уголовного дела установлено, что в 2012 году обвиняемая была уведомлена Республиканским центром профилактики и борьбы со СПИДом о наличии у неё ВИЧ-инфекции, предупреждена об уголовной ответственности за заведомое заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией, в том числе об обязанности предупреждать сексуальных партнеров о наличии у неё заболевания.

После чего, с сентября 2015 года по декабрь 2015 года, проживая с 30-летним мужчиной, который не был заражен ВИЧ-инфекцией, не уведомила его о наличии у неё данного заболевания, что повлекло заражение потерпевшего.

После расставания с обвиняемой мужчина стал проживать с девушкой, с которой планировал иметь ребенка. Сдав в октябре 2018 года анализы, мужчина узнал, что заражен ВИЧ-инфекцией.

За совершение вышеуказанного преступления, с учетом полного признания вины, обвиняемой грозит наказание до 2 лет 2 месяцев лишения свободы, сообщает прокуратура по Коми.

[Update]US: New Jersey man faces second charge of alleged HIV non-disclosure

Galloway man charged with exposing second man to HIV
October 12, 2019

Source: Breaking AC, October 12, 2019

 Galloway man charged with exposing second man to HIV

A Galloway Township man already charged with knowingly infecting a man with HIV is now accused of failing to disclose his medical history before having unprotected sex with a second man.
AX, 36, was charged last week with committing “an act of sexual penetration without the informed consent of the other person while knowingly infected…,” according to a complaint obtained by BreakingAC.
He is scheduled to be in court Oct. 30.
He already faces charges filed this past May, after another man was allegedly infected in 2016.
It is not clear whether the second man became infected.

 


 

Source: Breaking AC, my 24, 2019

Galloway man charged with knowingly infecting man with HIV

A Galloway Township man is accused of giving a man a sexually transmitted disease after failing to disclose he was HIV positive.
X, 36, was charged Thursday with three criminal counts, including aggravated assault.
X was arrested last month in a separate case in which he allegedly punched and threatened a man outside the Cathedral Grace Family Church.

The victim in that case said he was in a relationship with X but the two have had issues, according to the complaint obtained by Breaking AC. He was released from jail as those charges go through the system.
Now, X is accused of failing to disclose he was HIV positive before having sex with a man, who was infected.
X is accused of committing “an act of sexual penetration knowing that he is infected with a sexually transmitted disease” and for “knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical welfare of the victim.”

 

US: HIV criminalisation laws increase stigma and discrimination and impede effective treatment and prevention

These laws were meant to protect people from HIV. They’ve only increased stigma and abuse.
October 11, 2019

Source: Vox, October 10, 2019

These laws were meant to protect people from HIV. They’ve only increased stigma and abuse.

Laws in many states make it a crime to have sex without disclosing your HIV status. Advocates say they may actually worsen the spread of the virus.

The policy: Criminal penalties for knowingly exposing someone to HIV

Where: Twenty-six states around the country

In place since: The 1980s

The problem:

In March 1981, an otherwise healthy Los Angeles man contracted a rare form of pneumonia usually seen only in people with severely compromised immune systems. Doctors treated him with antibiotics, but his condition worsened, and within two months, he was dead.

The Center for Disease Control, as it was then known, identified four similar cases — generally healthy young men who suddenly became very ill with the same rare lung disease — and in June 1981 published the first official report on the condition that would become known as AIDS. By the time the report was published, another of the men had died. By the end of the year, there were 337 reported cases of the condition, and 130 people had died.

Researchers discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in 1984. But the death toll kept rising, and the panic along with it. Fear and misunderstanding of the disease were such that when one student at a New York City school was thought to have the virus, 944 of the school’s 1,100 students stayed home, according to a Time magazine report. In one 1985 poll, 50 percent of people supported a quarantine of people with AIDS. Amid this panic, the idea emerged that “there were people who were intentionally spreading HIV,” Scott Schoettes, HIV project director at the LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal, told Vox.

The idea may have been fueled by longstanding social prejudices, including homophobia. As journalist Steven Thrasher writes in a Guardian column on the now-debunked myth of a gay flight attendant as HIV’s “Patient Zero,” “we like to blame individuals (especially queer folks, women, immigrants and people of color) for diseases, particularly communicable ones that involve sex. Societally, it is far easier to blame them for disease rather than to deal with the complex medical, political and epidemiological causes.”

Nonetheless, states soon began instituting criminal penalties for knowingly exposing others to the virus — Florida, Washington, and Tennessee did so in 1986, Helen McDonald writes at Autostraddle. In 1990, the federal Ryan White Act, which provided funding for HIV treatment, required states to show they could prosecute people who exposed others to HIV. The laws began to proliferate, and by 2011, 33 states had one or more laws criminalizing HIV exposure. As of last year, such laws remained on the books in 26 states, according to the CDC.

How it worked:

The first problem with the laws was a simple one, according to Schoettes and others: The crime they were intended to combat didn’t actually exist. There is no evidence that a significant number of people were ever intentionally trying to infect other people with HIV.

But because many of the laws were broadly written, they were used to prosecute people who had never intended to harm anyone else — and, in some cases, who had done no harm.

Mark Hunter, for example, told Vox that he contracted HIV at the age of 7 through treatment for his hemophilia. Hunter led a healthy and active life — he had a six-figure job in Washington, DC, he said, when, in 2006, two ex-partners filed charges against him for failing to disclose his HIV status to them. Neither woman had contracted the virus, but nonetheless, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Arkansas, where the charges were filed.

Hunter ended up serving three years. Today, he is out on parole and living in Louisiana, but he still has to register as a sex offender. He is an outspoken advocate against laws of the kind that sent him to prison. “When we talk about criminalization, the base issue is stigma,” he told Vox. “That stigma comes from fear.”

Hunter’s is just one of many such stories. Perhaps the best-known case is that of Nick Rhoades, who had sex with another man in 2008 without disclosing his HIV status. The other man subsequently learned that Rhoades had HIV and went to a doctor for antiretroviral medication. The law in Iowa, where the men lived, required the doctor to notify police that a sex crime had occurred, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. The men had used a condom, and Rhoades’s partner had not contracted the virus. Nonetheless, Rhoades was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Stories like these have also made people around the country afraid to get tested because “you can’t be prosecuted under one of these laws unless you know your HIV status,” Schoettes said. Testing and treatment are key ways of reducing HIV transmission, and by making people afraid to get tested, HIV criminalization laws may actually increase the spread of the virus.

study conducted in Toronto between 2010 and 2012 (laws criminalizing HIV exposure also exist in Canada) found that 7 percent of men who had sex with men were less likely to get an HIV test for fear of future prosecution — the study authors estimated that this fear could lead to an 18.5 percent increase in HIV transmission. And in general, HIV criminalization laws likely contribute to stigma and discrimination around HIV, which world health groups like UNAIDS have identified as some of the biggest barriers to effective treatment and prevention.

Meanwhile, “these laws were used to manipulate and coerce people to stay in abusive relationships,” Tami Haught, organizing and training coordinator for the SERO Project, a group that works to end HIV criminalization, told Vox. In Iowa, where Haught lives, it was difficult for people with HIV to definitively prove they had disclosed their status to their partners as the law required. Haught recalls a woman living with HIV whose abusive boyfriend told her, “if you call the cops or leave me I will tell them you didn’t disclose your status.” If that happened, the woman, not her abuser, could go to prison.

People with HIV were even afraid to report being raped, Haught said, for fear that they could be prosecuted for failing to disclose their status during the rape.

Those sentenced under the law, meanwhile, could face decades in prison even if they had used condoms. Once released, they were often forced to register as sex offenders. In Iowa, that meant having their HIV status disclosed publicly, sometimes with a mug shot in the newspaper, Haught said. They were subject to curfews and computer searches, had to submit to twice-yearly lie detector tests, and needed permission from authorities to leave the county, she added: “They were treated as if they were these dangerous predators rather than having a consensual sexual experience with another adult.”

In recent years, though, states have begun changing their laws. Iowa was the most high-profile example. Rhoades challenged his conviction in court in 2010, and around the same time, activists began lobbying state legislators to reform the law.

Rhoades and many others fought for years to get the Iowa law changed. Finally, in 2014, then-Gov. Terry Branstad signed a new law significantly reducing the penalties for exposing others to HIV. Under the new law, if someone intentionally infects someone else with HIV, the person can still face up to 25 years in prison. But if a person with HIV only acts with “reckless disregard” in exposing someone else to the virus — for example, by not using protection — that person can face one to five years in prison, depending on whether the other party actually contracts the virus. Meanwhile, taking “practical measures to prevent transmission” of the virus makes someone exempt from prosecution, according to the Center for HIV Law and Policy.

The law also removed the requirement that people convicted of exposing others to HIV register as sex offenders, and allowed previously convicted people to be removed from the sex offender registry. After the law was signed, two Iowans who had been forced to register as sex offenders under the old law had their ankle monitors publicly removed in celebration, Haught said. That year, Rhoades won his court case, and his conviction was set aside.

Many critics have argued the changes to Iowa’s law don’t go far enough. “HIV transmission should not be criminalized—ever,” wrote Mark Joseph Stern at Slate. “HIV criminalization laws do absolutely nothing to prevent the spread of the virus.”

But in general, Schoettes said, it’s been very difficult to convince state legislators to remove penalties completely. Also, “our concern is if you get rid of the law, prosecutors may just proceed under general criminal laws without parameters or guidance” — in some states, for example, people with HIV have been prosecuted for reckless endangerment or even assault with a deadly weapon. For that reason, Lambda Legal has backed reforming rather than removing these laws.

These efforts have had success in California, where in 2017 then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law ensuring that people cannot be prosecuted based on HIV status unless they actually intend to transmit the virus and do so. Colorado, Michigan, and North Carolina have also reformed their laws or regulations around HIV, Haught said. And according to Schoettes, advocates are also working to repeal or reform HIV criminalization laws in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere.

Today, Mark Hunter is “in a good place,” he said. He is married, and has adopted his wife’s son from a previous relationship. He has a job with the state of Louisiana, he’s a deacon in his church, and he has started an HIV/AIDS foundation named after his brother. He will be off parole in April 2020.

But his driver’s license still has the words “sex offender” printed on it. And around the country, he still sees a lot of stigma around HIV.

“Change is coming,” he said, “but it’s coming slow.”


Anna North covers gender issues, reproductive rights, workplace discrimination, LGBTQ rights, and more for Vox. Previously, she worked for The New York Times.

 

India: 43-year-old man sentenced to 6 months for allegedly not disclosing his status to his wife

Man gets jail for hiding HIV status from wife
October 11, 2019

Man gets jail for hiding HIV status from wife

Source: The Hindu, October 10, 2019

The special mobile court in Kadapa has awarded jail term to a person for concealing his HIV-positive status from his wife, apart from harassing her for dowry.

KX (43) of Krishna district married M. Sobha Rani of Kadapa town several years back.

Even while facing harassment for dowry, she remained calm until she found her husband secretly taking drugs and later found him to be HIV positive.

She filed a cheating case in RIMS police station two years ago against her husband’s family.

According to circle inspector B. Satya Babu, the special mobile court magistrate A. Pavan Kumar on Thursday found KS and his father guilty of the crime and sentenced them to undergo six months’ imprisonment and pay a fine of ₹7,000 each.

[Update]Cambodia: Supreme Court upholds unlicensed medic’s 25 years sentence for allegedly spreading HIV by reusing unsterilised needles

Cambodia’s top court upholds 25–year prison term for doctor who infected people with HIV
October 5, 2019

Source: Xinhua, October 5, 2019

Cambodia’s top court upholds 25-year prison term for doctor who infected people with HIV

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s Supreme Court has upheld the decision of a lower court to sentence an unlicensed medical practitioner to 25 years in prison for infecting over 200 villagers with HIV via the reuse of unclean needles.

Yem Chrin, 60, was arrested in 2014 in northwestern Battambang province after most of his patients had their blood tested positive for HIV and accused him of transmitting the virus via the reuse of unsterilized needles.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

In December 2015, the Battambang Provincial Court found him guilty of committing “cruel torture” and decided to sentence him to 25 years in prison. The court also ordered him to pay between 500 U.S. dollars and 3,000 U.S. dollars in compensation to each of more than 100 victims, who filed the complaints.

In September 2017, the Appeal Court decided to uphold the Battambang Provincial Court’s ruling against Chrin.

“The Supreme Court sees that the Appeal Court’s decision against Yem Chrin is correct, so the court decides to uphold the decision,” Supreme Court Judge Nil Non said as he pronounced the verdict on Friday.

Chrin appeared in court to hear his verdict.

During a hearing last month, Chrin, who had been a village medical practitioner for almost 20 years, acknowledged his mistake and pleaded the court to reduce his jail sentence to 10 years.

He told the court that he reused syringes on multiple patients because it was difficult to get new ones.

The HIV outbreak in Battambang province’s rural Roka commune, which came to light in 2014, had left some 290 people infected.

Cambodia currently has approximately 70,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and about 60,630 of them have received antiretroviral drugs, according to the National AIDS Authority.


 

Source: The Phnom Penh Post, September 22, 2019

Supreme Court hears appeal of physician for transmitting HIV

The Supreme Court on September 20 heard the appeal of a physician convicted of transmitting HIV to 200 Roka villagers in Roka commune in Sangke district, in Battambang province in 2014.

Yem Chren, who has been sentenced to 25 years in jail by the Battambang provincial court told the Supreme Court: “I had no intention to do it, so please lower my sentence.”

Defence lawyer Sam Chamroeun said the Appeal court had assumed that his client’s mistake had caused some Roka villagers to die of HIV, but the mistake was unintentional [and not premeditated].

He claimed that the Health Department had failed to conduct a thorough investigation which caused his client to receive a heavy sentence.

“The court should lower the sentence since the HIV transmission was caused by a technical error. This problem might not have had occurred if technical officials conducted thorough and regular inspections at each hospital.

“My client would not have been sentenced for years if such inspection had been carried out to prevent this kind of problem from happening,” Chamroeun said.

Chren was charged by the Battambang provincial court on three counts under Article 18 and 50 of the Law on the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS which includes the intentional spreading of HIV to others, committing murder through cruel actions under Article 205 of the Criminal Code, and opening a clinic without legal permission from the Ministry of Health.

Apart from the 25 years jail imposed by the Battambang provincial court, he was also fined five million riel for opening an unlicensed clinic and ordered to pay between two to 12 million riel to each of the 107 victims, including 22 minors, as compensation.

Chren had then appealed to the Appeal Court. But the sentence was upheld.

Supreme Court Judge Nil Non said the verdict will be handed down on October 4.


In HIV Case, Key Evidence Trails Behind Guilty Verdict

When the Battambang Provincial Court last week handed down a 25-year prison sentence to Yem Chrin, an unlicensed medic blamed for spreading HIV to more than 280 residents of rural Roka commune, it likely failed to consider relevant medical evidence, according to interviews with doctors and health officials.

The court also went forward with the guilty verdict despite not having the results of the genetic testing currently being done at the Institut Pasteur in Phnom Penh, which has the potential to shed light on the origins of the HIV epidemic in Roka and is due to be completed within weeks.

While prosecutors relied heavily on the testimonies of nearly 90 infected villagers during Mr. Chrin’s five-day trial in October, the court said on the final day of the trial that it would also seek the results of testing being conducted by the Institut Pasteur, which has been actively studying the HIV that was first detected in Roka in December last year.

It is unclear precisely which tests the court was referring to. According to Institut Pasteur director Didier Fontenille, the testing being conducted by his institute has focused on three separate areas: blood samples from Roka villagers, syringes and rubber tubing seized from Mr. Chrin’s house by investigators in December, and the genetic makeup of the HIV in the commune.

While the blood samples were tested shortly after the outbreak was detected in order to confirm the infections, further tests to examine whether HIV and antibodies were present on Mr. Chrin’s medical equipment were only completed recently.

Dr. Fontenille said researchers at the institute had not yet completed the “important” genetic sequencing of the HIV in Roka, which would determine the genetic source and possible origins of the virus.

“What we want to know is if there is a high diversity of viruses in Roka or if almost all the viruses are almost the same, which means having an almost unique source,” he said, adding that preliminary results showed little genetic diversity. “We know it is almost one unique source, but what we do not understand yet is if it is only one practitioner, several practitioners or several practitioners plus sexual transmissions and drug use,” Dr. Fontenille said.“We expect to finish the sequencing and analyses in the next weeks, or at least [in] one or two months,” he added.

Dr. Fontenille said he forwarded a report of his team’s findings on Mr. Chrin’s medical equipment to the Ministry of Health last month, but that he was unsure if the document ever made its way to the Battambang court.

“The Ministry of Health got the results. I do not know if these results have been presented at the court or not,” Dr. Fontenille said. “We have not been invited to go [to the court].”

He added that the findings—which he declined to disclose—had been sent to his “only contact” at the Health Ministry: Mean Chhi Vun, the former director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS), who retired in February, but remains an adviser at the ministry.

Dr. Fontenille said that Dr. Chhi Vun and others at NCHADS were all appraised of the Institut Pasteur’s findings on the medical equipment, as well as its ongoing effort to sequence the virus’ DNA.

“He knows that very well because we had several meetings,” he said. “We have regular meetings, and the new director of NCHADS also participates in all these meetings.”

However, asked on Monday whether he had passed on the information from the Institut Pasteur to the court, Dr. Chhi Vun refused to provide a clear answer.

“I did not receive the official report from the Institut Pasteur,” he said. “I just received an updated document.”

Asked if he had sent this update on to the Battambang court, Dr. Chhi Vun said he was not sure.“I don’t know,” he said. “You can ask the court.”

Court spokesman Toch Sopheakdey declined to answer questions about whether the court had received the test results.“This is an internal issue of the court,” he said.

Other national and provincial health officials contacted on Monday said they did not know whether the court had received the requested medical evidence.

Ly Penh Sun, who replaced Dr. Chhi Vun as the director of NCHADS, referred questions about the Institut Pasteur’s analyses back to his predecessor.“I do not know about these results that the court requested from Pasteur,” he said.

Voeung Bunreth, director of the Battambang provincial health department, said he had requested the institute’s findings on behalf of the provincial court, but he did not know if they were ever delivered to judicial officials.“I just brought the letter from the court to give to the Institut Pasteur, but I don’t know if the court received the results or not,” he said.

Mr. Chrin’s lawyer, Em Savann, said he had not even known that the court requested the institute’s findings in the first place.

“According to what I remember, the presiding judge requested through the provincial health department that Yem Chrin’s blood be tested,” Mr. Savann said. “But I did not hear the presiding judge request the results of any other testing.”

Originally published in Cambodia Daily

Jamaica: Parliamentary Committee recommends that the wilful or reckless transmission of HIV be treated as a criminal offence

Mandatory registration recommended for sex offenders relocating to Jamaica
October 4, 2019

Source: Jamaica Observer, October 3, 2019

Mandatory registration recommended for sex offenders relocating to Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A parliamentary committee has recommended that it should be made mandatory for sex offenders who have relocated or returned to the island to register in the Sex Offender Registry in Jamaica. 

Failure to register will constitute an offence, which may be punishable by imprisonment.

Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, made the disclosure as he opened debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, on the Report of the Joint Select Committee appointed to complete the review of the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences against the Person Act, The Domestic Violence Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

Emphasis was placed on the offences and punishment under these pieces of legislation with regard to murder of pregnant women; assault and sexual offences against women, children and the elderly; and such other violent crimes against women, children, the disabled and the elderly as may be deemed necessary for the review.

Chuck said the committee decided against making any recommendations to change the laws relating to forced anal penetration for fear of inadvertently repealing the offence of buggery.

“Accordingly, it was determined that the committee did not have the power to effect that amendment or to recommend it and that the matter should properly be considered by Parliament,” he said.

“This Government has given its commitment to invoking a referendum on the matter; however, I am urging my colleagues in this House to carefully consider the issue and make their recommendations. This also applies to abortion,” he noted.

In relation to HIV, the committee recommended that it should be a criminal offence for someone to wilfully or recklessly infect a partner with any sexually transmissible disease that can inflict serious bodily harm to that partner, but like the issue of abortion, should be considered by Parliament as a whole.

Chuck said the intention is to clarify the law by codifying the common law position. 

Regarding marital rape, section five of the Sexual Offences Act provides that certain conditions must be met before it is determined that a husband can rape his wife.

Chuck said the committee recommended that those conditions must be removed to retain one qualification for rape that is non-consensual sex.

On the matter of age of consent, the members were of the view that this should remain at 16 and a provision included in the law to prevent the criminalisation of children, where they willingly engage in sexual activities with each other.

Chuck said it was proposed that the penalties for offences in all four pieces of legislation should be reviewed and increased to make them a deterrent. It is also proposed that a new offence of stalking should be created.

For the Domestic Violence Act, the Justice Minister said the committee recommended a separate, Joint Select Committee of Parliament should be established to carry out a comprehensive review of the Act.

Debate was suspended on the Report.

 
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