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US: It’s time to change Missouri HIV criminal statutes and end stigma

Missouri’s HIV criminal statutes are due for an update
May 1, 2019

Missouri’s HIV criminal statutes are due for an update

AIDS Project of the Ozarks (APO) is a non-profit community-based organization serving a 29-county region in SWMO including over 800 clients with HIV/AIDS and their families. In the early years of the epidemic, with no effective treatment options, an HIV diagnosis was tantamount to a death sentence.  My friends were dying and that’s why I became involved with this work. Not long after our founding in 1983, Missouri joined a great number of states in enacting strict laws that penalize people living with HIV (PLHIV) for engaging in sexual activity as one method to combat the epidemic.

Thankfully, much has changed in the 36 years since we were founded. With today’s medications, in a matter of months, people living with HIV are suppressing the virus in their bloodstream, rendering it incapable of transmission to another person. The Center for Disease Control confirmed this information in 2017.

Undetectable = untransmittable.

PLHIV are leading long, productive lives without the fear of exposing loved ones to the virus. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and condoms or other latex barriers are viable means of HIV prevention that unaffected partners can use to take control of their own risk of contracting the virus.

Yet, as the law stands in Missouri, if someone living with HIV cannot prove without a doubt that they have disclosed their HIV status to a sexual partner, they may be subject to Class B felony charges – the same as a 2nd-degree murder – even when no transmission of HIV has occurred. An HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, however, our laws continue to treat it as such.

The stigma associated with HIV was built on top of misinformation during the 1980s. When APO started, we didn’t even put our name on the building directory because the fear of the stigma of HIV was an incredible barrier for people seeking testing and treatment. Today, we have a better medical understanding and more people are living longer with HIV. It is time to stop living bound by fear and paralyzed by stigma. As modeled by APO’s newly constructed facility with our large  sign on one of Springfield’s busiest thoroughfares, it is time to come out from the shadows. It is time for our General Assembly to embrace public policy, grounded in today’s medical realities, and modernize HIV-specific criminal codes.

Reps. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston; HB 167) and Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette; HB 166) have come together in bipartisan collaboration. Public health and HIV are not partisan topics. We applaud the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee for advancing a House Committee Substitute for both bills forward on April 15.

We urge Springfield’s own – Speaker Elijah Haahr – to schedule floor debate time for HCB HB 167 & 166 with ample time for amendments and discussion to resolve several outstanding concerns. We thank both sponsors for their bipartisanship, and we urge the same from their colleagues. The time is now to change the law and end the stigma. To send a message to your representative, visit www.empowermissouri.org.

APO provides medical care, case management, education to the general public, and services to persons with HIV infection, their families and significant others in a confidential, caring environment. We also offer primary medical care to those who are not HIV positive, in a safe inclusive environment. Our walk-in testing schedule at APO (1636 S Glenstone, Suite 100, Springfield, MO 65804) is Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Friday 9am-Noon and 1-3pm; and at APO Downtown (303 Park Central West) 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays with HIV, Hepatitis C, and syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia testing. Safer-sex supplies are available at both locations.

US: Law student wins scholarship prize for writing about HIV criminalisation in Louisiana and its negative impact on women

Draconian state law criminalizing HIV exposure subject of winning paper by Tulane Law student
April 30, 2019

Draconian state law criminalizing HIV exposure subject of winning paper by Tulane Law student

Louisiana is one of more than two dozen states with a law that criminalizes exposure to HIV, charging, prosecuting, jailing and labeling anyone who potentially exposes another to the virus as a sex offender.

An exposition of the broadly-written and punative state law and its impact on women is the subject of a paper written by third-year law student Rachel Brown, and the winner of the 2019 Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights Law.

 “Your submission, When the Body Is a Weapon: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of HIV Criminalization in Louisiana, stood out among an impressive showing by other writers,” the selection committee wrote to Brown. “We received many excellent papers that demonstrated solid research, innovative ideas, sharp legal analysis, and excellent writing skills – and yours was the most remarkable.”

The prize, co-sponsored by If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), and the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law (CRRJ), encourages innovative analysis and advocacy in writing about reproductive rights and justice issues.  It comes with a $750 award for Brown, plus publication in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, one of the most prestigious national journals in gender law. Brown’s paper also will be adapted for other platforms, including the If/When/How website.

“The law’s draconian penalties devastate the lives of women convicted, all while failing to advance any legitimate public health or penological goal – ultimately, putting both HIV negative and positive persons at risk,” Brown said.

Brown’s paper provided analysis of how HIV criminalization in Louisiana is enforced in a discriminatory pattern, often targeting the populations mostly affected by the virus: women of color, trans women, sex workers and the poor. She initially wrote it for a law course called Feminist Legal Theory, taught by Saru Matambanadzo, the Moise S. Steeg Jr. Associate Professor of Law at Tulane.

“Rachel’s paper was a clear standout in our seminar,” said Matambanadzo. “She was among the more sophisticated thinkers in the course and her capacity to bridge activism with theory and her commitment to intersectional feminism is rare for a student at this stage. I’m excited that her hard work has been recognized by the Sarah Weddington prize.”

Brown, who has a master’s in social work from Tulane, said she is passionate about reproductive justice and chose the topic because of its severe adverse impacts on women. A third-year law student, she is the outgoing president of Tulane’s chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. She also is finishing a stint in the Civil Rights and Federal Justice Clinic.

 After graduation in May,  Brown plans to combine her social work background and new legal training to advance public policy in reproductive justice.

[Update]Kazakhstan: Man sentenced to four years imprisonment for alleged HIV transmission appeals against its sentence

Умышленно заражал девушек ВИЧ: осужденный просит смягчить приговор в Темиртау
April 29, 2019

Source: Nur.kz, April 2019 – Google translation, for Russian article please scroll down.

Intentional transmission of HIV to women: Sentenced man asks for commutation of sentence in Temirtau

An entrepreneur, director of a plastic windows manufacturing company, who deliberately infected his girlfriends with HIV, asks for mitigation of the sentence – the man filed an appeal, reports NUR.KZ. 

He states that four years of imprisonment is an excessively severe punishment for both intentional transmission of HIV status and fraud. According to the investigation, he took money from clients, promising to install plastic windows in the entrance and apartments. But in fact, he did not keep his promises and hid with the money.

“His complaint went to the Karaganda Regional Court. The Board of Appeal accepted his appeal. The hearing will take place behind closed doors, as it concerns sexual crimes,” said the court.

The 28-year-old Temirtau resident has been registered at the medical center for seven years. It is not clear why he infected girls with HIV.

The judge of Temirtau city court, Yerzhan Tastanbekov, sentenced him to four years in prison. According to the court, the man knew about his illness, but had unprotected sex with women. It is unknown from whom he avenged his illness and why he undermined the health of innocent girls.

The victims were three women in court. The fourth refused to participate in the trial, preferring to remain in the shadow of the story.

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 Умышленно заражал девушек ВИЧ: осужденный просит смягчить приговор в Темиртау

Предприниматель, директор фирмы по производству пластиковых окон, который умышленно заражал своих подруг ВИЧ, просит смягчения приговора – мужчина подал апелляционную жалобу, передает корреспондент NUR.KZ. 

Он заявляет, что четыре года колонии – это чрезмерно суровое наказание как за умышленное распространение ВИЧ-статуса, так и за мошенничество. По версии следствия, он брал деньги с клиентов, обещая установить в подъезде и в квартирах пластиковые окна. Но фактически свои обещания не выполнял и скрывался с деньгами.

«Его жалоба поступила в Карагандинский областной суд. Апелляционная коллегия приняла его обращение. Рассмотрение состоится за закрытыми дверями, поскольку речь идет о половых преступлениях», – сообщили в суде.

Напомним, 28-летний темиртаусец состоит на учете в медицинском центре уже семь лет. Зачем он заражал девушек ВИЧ, не выяснено.

Судья Темиртауского городского суда Ержан Тастанбеков назначил ему четыре года лишения свободы. По данным суда, мужчина знал о своей болезни, но специально вступал с женщинами в незащищенный половой контакт. Кому он мстил за свою болезнь и почему подорвал здоровье ни в чем неповинных девушек, неизвестно.

Потерпевшими в суде выступили трое женщин. Четвертая отказалась участвовать в суде, предпочтя остаться в тени этой истории.



Published in Today.kz on March 13, 2019 – Google translation, For Russian article, please scroll down.

Convicted HIV carrier deliberately infected women in Temirtau

 On March 13, the Temirtau city court sentenced an individual accused of intentionally transmitting HIV, Today.kz reports.

According to the documents about the case, the man infected the girls with the disease, although he was officially warned about the criminal responsibility for intentionally infecting other persons with HIV. The trial was held behind closed doors, the personal data of the victims are classified.

In addition, a case of fraud was considered in relation to the defendant. He was the director of a plastic window installation company and deceived seven clients, taking money from them for the order, but never completing the work.

The court found the man guilty under part 3 of article 118 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Infection with a human immunodeficiency virus) and sentenced him to four years in prison.

He was also found guilty of committing fraudulent acts. For this, the court sentenced the entrepreneur to two years in prison.

“According to the aggregate of punishments through the absorption of a less strict one, a more final punishment is imposed in the form of four years of imprisonment with serving maximum security in the penitentiary system,” said judge Yerzhan Tastanbekov.

The verdict can be appealed by participants in the process.

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Осужден носитель ВИЧ-инфекции, умышленно заражавший женщин в Темиртау

13 марта в Темиртауском городском суде вынесен приговор обвиняемому в намеренном заражении ВИЧ, передает корреспондент Today.kz.

Согласно материалам дела, мужчина заражал девушек болезнью, хотя был официально предупрежден об уголовной ответственности за умышленное заражение других лиц ВИЧ. Суд проходил за закрытыми дверями, анкетные данные потерпевших засекречены.

Кроме того, в отношении подсудимого рассматривалось и дело о мошенничестве. Он являлся директором фирмы по установке пластиковых окон и обманул семерых клиентов, взяв с них деньги за заказ, но так и не выполнив работу.

Суд признал мужчину виновным по части 3 статьи 118 УК РК (Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека) и назначил ему наказание в виде четырех лет лишения свободы.

Также доказана его вина в совершении мошеннических действий. По этому делу суд приговорил предпринимателя к двум годам лишения свободы.

“По совокупности наказаний путем поглощения менее строгого более строгим окончательно назначить наказание в виде четырех лет лишения свободы с отбыванием в учреждении уголовно-исполнительной системы максимальной безопасности”, – сообщил судья Ержан Тастанбеков.

Приговор может быть обжалован участниками процесса.



 

Trial of a man who has infected four women with HIV has begun in Temirtau

(Google translation)

The defendant faces article 118 part 3 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV / AIDS), committed against two or more persons”. In addition, he is also charged with fraud.

“The criminal case was filed by Judge Yerzhan Tastanbekov. The process is closed. Defendant, we really judge several times. In addition to being infected with HIV, he is accused of several episodes of fraud, ”the court press service reported.

Recall that a 28-year-old resident of Temirtau infected four women with HIV. The man knew about his HIV status, but he intentionally entered into unprotected sex with the victims. He got acquainted with his victims through social networks. All victims up to 30 years. One of the victims, who is only 19 years old, was raped by a man. She first contacted the Center for the Control and Prevention of AIDS in the Karaganda region for medical and psychological assistance. Center staff reported this fact to the police. Thanks to this, the police managed to establish the identity of the HIV-infected person and detain him. He is now under arrest.

Published in December 11, 2018 in KP.Kz

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В Темиртау начался суд над мужчиной, заразивший ВИЧ четырех женщин

Подсудимому грозит статья 118 часть 3 УК РК «Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека (ВИЧ/СПИД), совершенное в отношении двух или более лиц». Кроме того, его также обвиняют в мошенничестве.

«Уголовное дело поступило в производство судьи Ержана Тастанбекова. Процесс закрытый. Подсудимый, действительно неоднократно судим. Кроме заражения ВИЧ он обвиняется в нескольких эпизодах мошенничества», – сообщили в пресс-службе суда.

Напомним, что 28-летний житель Темиртау заразил ВИЧ-инфекцией четырех женщин. Мужчина знал о своем ВИЧ-статусе, но намеренно вступал с пострадавшими в незащищенный половой контакт. Со своими жертвами он знакомился через социальные сети. Всем пострадавшим до 30 лет. Одну из пострадавших, которой всего 19 лет, мужчина изнасиловал. Она первая обратилась в Центр по борьбе и профилактике СПИД Карагандинской области за медицинской и психологической помощью. Сотрудники центра сообщили о данном факте в полицию. Благодаря этому полицейским удалось установить личность ВИЧ-инфицированного и задержать его. Сейчас он находится под арестом.



September 2018

Infected girls with HIV: a criminal investigation is being investigated by the police of Temirtau – Google translation. For original article in Russian, please scroll down.

With regard to the 28-year-old resident of Temirtau, who intentionally infected four girls with HIV, an investigation of the criminal case was launched, the correspondent of NUR.KZ reports. 

Pre-trial proceedings are investigated under Article 118 of the Criminal Code “Infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”. 

The case is in Temirtau ATC.
 
One of the affected girls filed an application with the police. 

For our part, we provided evidence that the man was aware of his HIV status and was warned of criminal liability for the deliberate infection of others, “said Nagim Tulekbayeva, head of the department of the center for the prevention and control of AIDS in the Karaganda region.
 

The profile data of all four girls and the suspect of the 28-year-old tehtourusa are secret from the public to prevent disclosure of information about the intimate aspects of their lives.

The hearings will also be closed.

Recall 28-year-old тертаусец is on the account in the medical center already seven years. Why did he infect the girls with HIV, will establish an investigation.

Published in NUR.KZ on September 13, 2018

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Заразил девушек ВИЧ: уголовное дело расследует полиция Темиртау

В отношении 28-летнего жителя Темиртау, который намеренно заразил четырех девушек ВИЧ, начато расследование уголовного дела, передает корреспондент NUR.KZ.

Досудебное производство расследуется по статье 118 Уголовного кодекса «заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека». Дело находится в УВД Темиртау.

«Одна из пострадавших девушек подала заявление в полицию. Мы со своей стороны предоставили доказательства того, что мужчина знал о своем ВИЧ-статусе и был предупрежден об уголовной ответственности за умышленное заражение других», – сообщила заведующая отделом центра по профилактике и борьбе со СПИДом Карагандинской области Нагима Тулекбаева.

Анкетные данные всех четырех девушек и подозреваемого 28-летнего темиртаусца засекречены от общественности для недопущения разглашения сведений об интимных сторонах их жизни.

Судебные слушания также будут закрытыми.

Напомним, 28-летний темиртаусец состоит на учете в медицинском центре уже семь лет. Зачем он заражал девушек ВИЧ, установит следствие.

Colombia: Constitutional court to examine whether the law criminalising HIV transmission is discriminatory

¿Penalizar el contagio de VIH es discriminar?
April 28, 2019

Source: El Tiempo, April 27, 2019 – Google translation, for article in Spanish, please scroll down.

Is Penalising HIV infection discriminating?

Should a person who transmit HIV or hepatitis B go to jail for 6 years? That is the debate that the Constitutional Court will have to settle in the coming days, by resolving a lawsuit against the law that criminalizes the transmission of these diseases.

The plaintiff considers that Article 370 of the Criminal Code violates the rights to equality and restricts the free development of personality, in particular, sexual freedom. This law establishes that there will be imprisonment of 6 to 12 years for those who, knowing that they have HIV or hepatitis B, “perform practices through which they may contaminate another person, or donate blood, semen, organs or, in general, anatomical components”

According to the lawsuit, this penalizes the fact that a person living with these diseases has sex, and makes it a crime regardless of whether preventive measures, such as antiretroviral treatments and others, are taken that make the transmission of diseases unlikely.

Thus, the plaintiff says that although the purpose of this mechanism is to protect public health, this does not justify prohibiting a population group from freely expressing their sexuality, and adds that there would be no harm when there are consensual relationships in which measures are taken to prevent infections.

On the violation of equality, the plaintiff says that the article only refers and penalizes people with HIV or hepatitis B, and not others with potentially contagious and sensitive diseases.

The debate is broad, in total the Court received 15 statements of opinion from different organizations, ministries, universities, and even the Constitutional Court of South Africa, to feed its considerations. And there are almost as many arguments in favour as there are against.

For example, the Colombian Anti-AIDS League supported the demand because it considered that rights were violated, adding that laws that criminalize exposure to HIV leave the burden of prevention to the people who live with it and said that the real challenges are more education and better access to medical testing services and counselling

The statement sent by Edwin Cameron, magistrate of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and who lives with HIV since 1985, points out the harm of criminalizing people living with HIV, as it increases the stigma and makes it harder for them to dare to seek medical help and prevention information

He also said that to resort to norms that criminalize HIV, the UN recommends to governments that they address only those who intentionally spread the virus and concluded that if the goal is to safeguard public health, it is more effective to have better prevention and care programmes.

The statement sent by the Ministry of Justice gives the plaintiff reason that the rule is discriminatory because it is directed only to people with HIV – who have also been recognized as subjects of special constitutional protection – or hepatitis B and adds that there is no justification for the rule to be for people with these two diseases and not for others who are aware of having different infectious-contagious diseases

However, with regard to the restriction on sexual freedom, the Justice Department considered that the rule “does not violate the right to the free development of personality, but is limited to establishing the criminal consequences resulting from its abusive and harmful exercise against the rights of other people and the community “ For all this, it asks the Court to study the lawsuit and decide.

The Ministry of Health indicated, on the contrary, that the rule does not violate either the right to equality or the free development of the personality, but rather that the demand is based on an inference from the plaintiff that this restricts sexual freedom, and therefore asks to leave the rule as it is.

The Attorney General agrees that the plaintiff interpretation is that the law punishes the fact of having sex even when there is no transmission of the disease, which, says the Public Ministry, is not true. For the Attorney General’s Office, the rule is clear that in order for the offense to be established there must be an intention to cause harm by carrying out practices that could end in transmission. Because of this, the reasons for the claim are not valid and the Court is being asked not to study it and declare itself inhibited

In any case, the decision will be made by the Court, the lawsuit was handed over to Judge Cristina Pardo, who has already made a presentation that will be debated in the next few days by the Court’s full chamber.


¿Penalizar el contagio de VIH es discriminar?

Demanda dice que tipificar la propagación del virus discrimina a personas con VIH o hepatitis B.

Por: María Isabel Ortiz Fonnegra

27 de abril 2019 , 08:00 p.m.

¿Debe ir a la cárcel por 6 años una persona que contagie a otra de VIH o hepatitis B? Ese es el debate que deberá zanjar la Corte Constitucional en los próximos días, al resolver una demanda contra la ley que penaliza la propagación de estas enfermedades.

El demandante considera que el artículo 370 del Código Penal vulnera los derechos a la igualdad y restringe el libre desarrollo de la personalidad, en particular, la libertad sexual. Esta ley establece que habrá prisión de 6 a 12 años para quien, sabiendo que tiene VIH o hepatitis B, “realice prácticas mediante las cuales pueda contaminar a otra persona, o done sangre, semen, órganos o en general componentes anatómicos”.

De acuerdo con la demanda, esto penaliza el hecho de que una persona que viva con estas enfermedades tenga sexo, y lo convierte en delito sin importar si se toman las medidas preventivas que hacen improbable la transmisión de enfermedades, como tratamientos antirretrovirales y otros.

Así, el demandante dice que aunque el fin de esta media es proteger la salud pública, esto no justifica prohibirle a un grupo poblacional expresar libremente su sexualidad, y agrega que no habría afectación cuando se tienen relaciones consensuadas en las que se toman medidas para prevenir contagios.

Sobre la vulneración a la igualdad, dice que el artículo solo se refiere y penaliza a personas con VIH o hepatitis B, y no a otras con enfermedades también potencialmente contagiosas y delicadas.

El debate es amplio, en total la Corte recibió 15 conceptos de diferentes organizaciones, ministerios, universidades, e incluso de la Corte Constitucional de Sudáfrica, para alimentar sus consideraciones. Y hay casi tantos argumentos a favor como los hay en contra. 

Por ejemplo, la Liga Colombiana de Lucha contra el Sida apoyó la demanda pues consideró que sí se vulneran los derechos, agregó que leyes que penalizan la exposición al VIH dejan toda la carga de la prevención a las personas que viven con él y dijo que los verdaderos desafíos son más educación y mejor acceso a servicios de pruebas médicas y consejería.

El concepto enviado por Edwin Cameron, magistrado de la Corte Constitucional de Sudáfrica y quien vive con VIH desde 1985, señala los perjuicios de criminalizar a las personas que viven con esa enfermedad, pues incrementa el estigma y hace más difícil que se atrevan a buscar ayuda médica e información sobre prevención. 

También dijo que de recurrir a normas que criminalicen el VIH, la ONU recomienda a los gobiernos que estas se dirijan solo a quienes intencionalmente propagan el virus y concluyó que si el objetivo es salvaguardar la salud pública, es más efectivo tener mejores programas de prevención y atención.

El concepto enviado por el Ministerio de Justicia le da la razón al demandante en que la norma es discriminatoria pues está dirigida únicamente a personas con VIH –que además han sido reconocidas como sujetos de especial protección constitucional– o hepatitis B y agrega que no se advierte justificación para que la norma sea para personas con esas dos enfermedades y no para otras que son conscientes de tener enfermedades infectocontagiosas riesgosas distintas. 

Sin embargo, frente a la restricción a la libertad sexual, la cartera de Justicia consideró que la norma “no vulnera el derecho al libre desarrollo de la personalidad, sino que se limita a establecer las consecuencias penales que acarrea su ejercicio abusivo y lesivo frente a los derechos de las demás personas y la comunidad”. Por todo esto, le pide a la Corte que estudie la demanda y decida.

El Ministerio de Salud indicó, al contrario, que la norma demandada no vulnera ni el derecho a la igualdad ni el libre desarrollo de la personalidad, sino que la demanda se basa en una inferencia del accionante de que esto restringe la libertad sexual, por lo que pidió dejar la norma tal y como está.

La Procuraduría coincide en que el demandante interpreta que la norma castiga el hecho de tener sexo aun cuando no exista transmisión de la enfermedad, lo cual, dice el Ministerio Público, no es cierto. Para la Procuraduría, la norma es clara en que para que se configure el delito debe existir una intención de causar daño realizando prácticas que podrían terminar en contagio. Por esto, las razones para la demanda se caen y le pidió a la Corte no estudiarla y declararse inhibida.

En todo caso, la decisión será de la Corte, la demanda le correspondió por reparto a la magistrada Cristina Pardo, quien ya hizo una ponencia que será debatida en los próximos días por la sala plena de la Corte.

US: 52-year-old Tennessee man arrested and charged for alleged HIV exposure

Cookeville Man Charged For Criminal HIV Exposure
April 26, 2019

Source: NewsTalk 94.1, April 25, 2019

Cookeville Man Charged For Criminal HIV Exposure

A Cookeville man faces charges after exposing an individual to HIV earlier this month.

Cookeville Police charged 52-year-old man Wednesday with criminal exposure of another to a sexually-transmitted disease.

Detectives spoke with X about the incident when he admitted to having sexual contact with a 19-year-old individual.

Arrest warrants indicate police interviewed and determined the 19-year-old had the mentality of a third-grade child. The victim told police they had a sexual encounter with X earlier this month, and X admitted to detectives he did not inform the victim of his infection.

X is being held at the Putnam County Jail under $100,000 bond with a court date scheduled for June 3.

 

Canada: Advocates recommend amending the criminal code to limit the overcriminalisation of non-disclosure and the inconsistency of provincial prosecutorial policies

Criminal Code changes needed to curb HIV non–disclosure prosecutions, experts say
April 25, 2019

Criminal Code changes needed to curb HIV non-disclosure prosecutions, experts say

The chair of the federal government’s justice committee is hoping input from various stakeholders will lead to Criminal Code changes limiting prosecutions of HIV non-disclosure across Canada.

On April 9, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights began inviting medical professionals, advocates and those living with the immunodeficiency virus to submit briefs on how to deal with the overcriminalization of non-disclosure and a “patchwork” of prosecutorial policy among the provinces.

The committee’s study comes almost five months after Canada’s Department of Justice directed its Crowns to limit their prosecutions of HIV non-disclosure in light of evolving science around risk of transmission.

But the Dec. 1 directive applies only to Crowns in Canada’s territories. Provincial prosecutors, on the other hand, follow their own set of prosecutorial policies.

Soon after this, Ontario directed its Crowns to limit non-disclosure prosecutions. And on April 16, British Columbia brought forth a revamped policy.

Most other provinces lack directives.

Defence lawyers and advocates have long been said that criminal law dealing with non-disclosure has lagged scientific findings that the risk of transmission can be quite low, depending on individual circumstances and sexual practices.

The committee will be hearing from stakeholders on the adequacy of the federal directive, how the justice system can work with the health sector to better understand the science of transmission and how to attain a uniform policy across the land.

As of April 17, the committee had heard from the Ontario AIDS Network and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, as well as other organizations and several experts.

All submissions are due April 30 and a report will go before Parliament sometime in May, according to the committee’s chairman, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather.

“We’re looking at how do you create a system that can apply across the country, and, for me, that would only be through adjustments to the Criminal Code itself,” Housefather told The Lawyer’s Daily.“Now, we could come out with recommendations, theoretically, to the minister of justice to meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts to try to agree on a directive that would be applied in every province and territory. But, from what I understand right now, the best approach would be amendments to the Criminal Code.”

Housefather spoke of different policies currently in existence.

“Right now, we only have a federal directive that applies to very few Canadians,” said Housefather. “We have an Ontario directive that is slightly different from the federal directive. There is a directive in B.C. that was quietly put forward. And then most [other] provinces have no such directive. So, people are being prosecuted differently depending on the province or territory that they live in right now.”

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network executive director Richard Elliott said the consultations will drive home the need for consistency.

“It should make clear that, in so far as it goes, the [federal] directive … issued in December, is OK,” said Elliott. “In our view — and [in] the view of other advocates with whom we work across the country on this — it doesn’t go far enough, but it is a step forward. What I think it should also make clear is even if the directive at the federal level went as far as it should go, and even if every provincial [attorney general] were to adopt an equally satisfactory directive applicable in their jurisdiction … we would still need an additional part of the solution here, which … is to amend the Criminal Code.”

Elliott noted differences in the federal, Ontario and B.C. directives and said uniform, coast-to-coast policy would “sweep away a patchwork of different policies in different jurisdictions.”

None of the policies is quite where it should be when it comes to limiting criminalization, said Elliott, who, like many, is calling for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault charges to be taken off the table as charges for HIV non-disclosure.

Criminal charges, he said, should be limited to intentional transmission.

Criminal lawyer Cynthia Fromstein has been approached by people “frightened [and] concerned about their legal jeopardy and wanting to know what is and is not lawful behaviour.”

“These are people who have no intention of harming others by their actions,” said Fromstein, a sole practitioner in Toronto. “That is one reason it is truly necessary for there to be consistency across the country in policy and application of the criminal law.”

Like Elliott, Fromstein hopes the consultations will kick-start change.

“Amending the Criminal Code is going to be complex,” she said. “I think there is wide support for taking any kind of prosecution of non-disclosure out of the sex assault provisions. I think there is broad agreement [this] needs to be done. But then there are real questions: Should there be a specific law for HIV transmissions? Should there be a specific law for ‘causing a person to be infected with a serious illness,’ which is not necessarily [classified as] HIV? There are a lot of questions that have to be fine-tuned.”

 

 

US: Bipartisan list of lawmakers sponsor bill to modernise HIV laws in Georgia

Georgia lawmaker wants to decriminalize HIV
April 19, 2019

Georgia lawmaker wants to decriminalize HIV

A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill that would modernize Georgia’s HIV laws, which activists say are outdated and stigmatize people living with HIV.

Under House Bill 719, a person charged with exposing someone to HIV — whether through sex or sharing needles — would have to show an “intent to transmit” the virus in order to be prosecuted, according to the bill. Current Georgia law makes it a crime for people living with HIV to have sex without disclosing their status. 

The bill would also downgrade the punishment for people found guilty of the offense to a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. It’s currently a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“[The bill] moves these archaic laws created out of the HIV panic of the 1980s and brings them up-to-date with our current understanding of HIV,” Eric Paulk, HIV policy field organizer for Georgia Equality, told Project Q Atlanta. “Additionally, this bill will aid in reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, which it is not just fair, but good for public health.”

“Lastly, reforming these laws is an important step to health and HIV prevention justice, especially for black gay, bisexual, and transgender Georgians, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV and prosecutions under these laws,” he added.

HB 719 would also make employees of syringe services programs immune from being charged with possession, distribution or exchange of needles or syringes as part of the program. The measure would also remove a provision in state law that makes it a crime for people living with HIV to spit on people.

Rep. Deborah Silcox (photo), a Republican from Sandy Springs who sponsored the measure, introduced HB 719 on April 2, the final day of this year’s legislative session. It will come back up for consideration during the 2020 session.

HB 719 has a bipartisan list of co-sponsors. The Republicans include Reps. Sharon Cooper of Marietta and Mark Newton of Augusta. The Democrats who signed on to the measure are Reps. Michele Henson of Stone Mountain and Karla Drenner of Avondale Estates. Drenner is one of the five openly LGBTQ members of the legislature.

Cooper sponsored a measure that created a study committee to examine the state’s HIV criminalization laws in 2017. 

The committee published its findings in December 2017, and some of those recommendations became part of HB 719. The committee found that “criminal exposure laws had no effect on detectable HIV prevention” and that these laws should be eliminated unless there was a clear intent to transmit the virus, according to the report.

Cooper, Silcox and Rep. Houston Gaines are the group of Republicans who introduced a package of HIV legislation during the 2019 session.

Cooper’s bill to create a pilot program to provide PrEP to people at high risk of contracting HIV passed both chambers and awaits Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature. Gaines’ bill to create a needle exchange program to help reduce HIV rates passed both chambers, and Kemp signed it into law on April 2. Silcox’s bill to make it easier for HIV-positive Medicaid recipients to receive the most effective medications passed unanimously in the House but got held up in the Senate over cost issues. It will return in 2020.

Georgia is one of three-dozen states that criminalize a lack of HIV disclosure. HIV criminalization laws are one of the reasons Georgia ended up in the lowest-rated category on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual State Equality Index.

Russia: Criminalisation of HIV infection is a futile measure that creates a false sense of security

ВИЧ как преступление. Михаил Голиченко – о деле Александры
April 18, 2019

Source: Radio Liberty (Радио Свобода) – April 17, 2019 – Deepl translation. For original article in Russian please scroll down.

HIV as a crime. Mikhail Golichenko – about the case of Alexandra

Everyone diagnosed with HIV infection is warned of liability under Article 122 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – “HIV Infection”. The presence of such an article in the Criminal Code is dictated by the concern for the protection of public health. In theory. Of course, the organization of health care, including legal measures (among which there are also methods of prohibition supported by criminal sanctions) is an important prerogative of any state. For example, actions such as the circulation of counterfeit medicines are perfectly justified under criminal prohibitions – here the purpose of health protection has a direct logical link with the method of legal regulation and criminal prosecution. However, the usefulness of some other criminal prohibitions in terms of their role in health care is not entirely clear, but appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. One of these prohibitions is the article “HIV infection”.

Emotionally, this article in the Criminal Code can be explained: HIV infection is a chronic disease that can lead to death if not treated in time. Responsibility for HIV infection was included in the Soviet Criminal Code, but then it was only about infection due to violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules (as, for example, in the case of mass hospitalization of children in Elista in 1988). In 1996, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation introduced a list of new offences for people living with HIV: “knowingly endangering their exposure to HIV” and “contracting HIV by a person who knew he had HIV”. Responsibility for the health of other people began to be placed on HIV-infected people, placing them in a situation of constant risk of criminal liability due to their chronic state of health. All over the world this is called criminalization of HIV infection.

From a rational point of view, criminalization of HIV infection is a futile measure, as it does not help to prevent HIV infection. There are a lot of scientific studies that prove that criminalization of HIV from the point of view of disease prevention is flawed. Criminalization of HIV infection undermines efforts to involve citizens in testing; creates a false sense of security and the lack of need to protect their own health; and leads to violations of the rights of those living with HIV, as they become targets of stigmatization.

Every year in Russia, about 40 people are prosecuted for “endangering their health” and for HIV infection. In most cases, these are cases arising from relationships between partners, when one partner suddenly learns about the other’s HIV status and, for one reason or another (often out of revenge), files a criminal complaint. The main evidence is usually the acknowledgement of a person living with HIV that sex was without a condom. Convictions in such cases are rarely appealed, and convicts prefer to forget the shame of the trial as soon as possible. But sometimes there are people who feel that the very idea of criminal responsibility is unfair: you are punished, in fact, because you are HIV-positive.

Alexandra (name changed) grew up in an orphanage. Not an ideal teenager, judging by the characteristics of an orphanage. At the age of 15 – the first marriage, a quick death of her husband, and already a widow. Around this time, Alexandra is diagnosed with HIV. She left the orphanage and tried to live on irregular earnings, including cleaning of apartments. Once Alexey hired her to clean the apartment, he is over 30. Alexey showed interest in Alexandra; when he found out that she was an orphan, he offered her to stay with him. Alexandra stayed with Alexei overnight. Alexei did not want to use a condom, and Alexandra was afraid to report her diagnosis openly, although she hinted at the danger of HIV infection.

At some point, Alexei began to become suspicious, and he insisted that Alexandra be tested for HIV. The relationship collapsed, and soon Alexei found out about the results of the tests. Although he did not have HIV himself, he reported it to the police. She appealed the guilty verdict with the assignment of the mandatory works of Alexander up to the Supreme Court. In January 2019, the Supreme Court sent her complaint back to the regional court, which dismissed the case for review by the court of first instance. Aleksandra is not a lawyer, not a human rights defender, but she feels that justice is on her side. And here are the reasons.

The offence of “endangering one’s health” implies a high threshold for prosecution – a direct intent. This intention is characteristic of a situation where a person not only understands that he or she may infect a partner, but also wishes to do so. That is, for example, when a person actively insists that sex should be without a condom. Alexandra did not do this. In the situation with Alexei, the law indirectly obliges Alexandra to monitor her partner’s health and either ensure that he or she has a condom on his or her penis or report his or her HIV status. In a situation of equality, the partner may not be afraid to disclose his or her status or insist on using a condom. But Alexandra found herself in a position of dependence on Alexei because she lived in his apartment. Aleksey was almost twice her age, had a lot more experience and was physically stronger. The girl couldn’t say that she was HIV-positive, but actively hinted at the fact that HIV could be infected, as, for example, her girlfriend had been infected. In other words, there is a lack of direct intent for criminal responsibility for putting Alexandra in danger of infection in her actions.

Social justice considerations require that the highest degree of social censure – criminal responsibility – be imposed on citizens only for the most negative acts. Murder, intentional harm to health – such acts undoubtedly require criminal liability. HIV infection is the infliction of serious harm to health, and intentional actions leading to it deserve a criminal article. However, there is no need to have a special article of the Criminal Code in which HIV infection would be identified as an independent characteristic. There are general compositions of crimes related to causing harm to health. The existence of a special composition specifically against HIV infection is a legislative reflection of the special, legal stigma attached to people living with HIV, and this does not comply with the principle of social justice.

The prosecution’s obligation to prove the guilt of the accused has been significantly reduced: the very fact that a person is living with HIV is sufficient, as well as the confession that sex was without a condom. The probability of HIV transmission during unprotected sex from woman to man is less than one tenth of a percent. As such, sex without a condom in general is not so dangerous in terms of HIV transmission as to make it a criminal offence. It is important that there is a clear, direct intent without proof of which prosecuting a person for sex with an HIV-positive partner without a condom can be compared to prosecuting a person who holds a knife in close proximity to another.

Condom use is one of the most effective ways to protect people from HIV during sexual intercourse. Condom use is a matter of everyone taking care of their own health. People should understand this, and everyone should understand it, regardless of their HIV status. The “endangering infection” formulation does not take into account the fact that not everyone is ready to disclose their HIV status to a partner in situations of intimate contact. The existence of a specific crime for endangering people without HIV creates a false sense of security, when failure to inform the partner about your positive status essentially means that you can not use a condom. In this way, the basis for an effective method of protecting the population from HIV is undermined, i.e. the formation of the population’s habit of using condoms. When she complains about her sentence, Alexandra fights for the health of the population, not just for herself.

The tension around Alexandra’s accusation continues. Aleksandra may again have to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court, hoping to restore justice for people living with HIV.

Mikhail Golichenko – lawyer, candidate of legal sciences


ВИЧ как преступление. Михаил Голиченко – о деле Александры

Каждый, кому поставлен диагноз “ВИЧ-инфекция”, предупреждается об ответственности по статье 122 Уголовного кодекса РФ – “Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией”. Наличие такой статьи в Уголовном кодексе продиктовано заботой об охране здоровья населения. В теории. Конечно, организация охраны здоровья, включая меры правового характера (среди которых присутствуют и способы запрета, подкрепленные уголовными санкциями), – важная прерогатива любого государства. Под уголовным запретом совершенно обоснованно находятся такие, например, действия, как обращение фальсифицированных лекарственных средств – здесь цель охраны здоровья имеет прямую логическую связь с методом правового регулирования, уголовным преследованием. Однако польза некоторых других уголовных запретов с точки зрения их роли в здравоохранении не вполне очевидна, они избраны, как представляется, произвольно. Одним из таких запретов является статья “Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией”.

С эмоциональной точки зрения появление такой статьи в Уголовном кодексе можно объяснить: ВИЧ-инфекция является хроническим заболеванием, которое при отсутствии своевременного лечения может привести к смерти. Ответственность в связи с ВИЧ-инфекцией была включена еще в советский УК, однако тогда речь шла только о заражении в связи с нарушением санитарно-эпидемиологических правил (как, например, в случае с массовым внутрибольничным заражением детей в Элисте в 1988 году). В 1996 году в Уголовном кодексе Российской Федерации появился перечень новых составов преступления для людей, живущих с ВИЧ: “заведомая постановка в опасность заражения” и “заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него ВИЧ”. Ответственность за здоровье других людей стали возлагать на ВИЧ-инфицированных, поставив их в ситуацию постоянного риска уголовной ответственности в связи с хроническим состоянием здоровья. Во всём мире это называется криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции.

С рациональной точки зрения, криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции – мера бестолковая, так как профилактике ВИЧ-инфекции она не помогает. Есть множество научных исследований, доказывающих порочность криминализации ВИЧ с точки зрения профилактики заболевания. Криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции подрывает усилия по привлечению граждан к тестированию; создает у населения ложное чувство защищенности и отсутствия необходимости самостоятельно защищать своё здоровье; приводит к нарушениям прав тех, кто живёт с ВИЧ, поскольку они становятся объектами стигматизации.

Ежегодно в России за “постановку в опасность заражения” и за заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией к уголовной ответственности привлекают около 40 человек. В большинстве случаев речь идет о делах, возникающих из отношений партнеров, когда один из партнеров внезапно узнает о ВИЧ-статусе другого и по тем или иным причинам (часто из мести) обращается с заявлением о возбуждении уголовного дела. Главным доказательством является, как правило, признание человека, живущего с ВИЧ, о том, что секс был без презерватива. Обвинительные приговоры по таким делам редко обжалуют, осуждённые предпочитают поскорее забыть позор процесса. Но иногда встречаются люди, которые чувствуют несправедливость самой идеи уголовной ответственности: тебя наказывают, по сути, из-за того, что ты болен ВИЧ.

Александра (имя изменено) выросла в детдоме. Не идеальный подросток, судя по характеристикам из детского дома. В 15 лет – первый брак, быстрая смерть мужа, и уже вдова. Примерно в это время у Александры диагностируют ВИЧ. Она покинула детский дом и пыталась прожить на непостоянные заработки, в том числе занимаясь уборкой квартир. Однажды её для уборки квартиры нанял Алексей, ему уже за 30. Алексей проявил к Александре интерес; узнав, что она сирота, предложил девушке пожить у него. Александра осталась у Алексея на ночь. Алексей не хотел использовать презерватив, а Александра боялась сообщить о своём диагнозе открыто, хотя и намекала на опасность ВИЧ-инфекции.

В какой-то момент у Алексея начали возникать подозрения, и он настоял на том, чтобы Александра сдала анализы на ВИЧ. Отношения развалились, вскоре Алексей узнал о результатах анализов. Хотя у него самого ВИЧ выявлен не был, он обратился в полицию с заявлением. Обвинительный приговор с назначением обязательных работ Александра обжаловала вплоть до Верховного суда. В январе 2019 года Верховный суд направил ее жалобу обратно в областной суд, который спустил кейс на пересмотр в суд первой инстанции. Александра не юрист, не правозащитник, но она чувствует, что справедливость на её стороне. И вот по каким причинам.

Состав преступления “постановка в опасность заражения” предполагает высокий порог для привлечения к ответственности – прямой умысел. Такой умысел характерен для ситуации, когда человек не только понимает, что может заразить партнёра, но и желает этого. То есть, к примеру, для ситуации, когда человек активно настаивает на том, чтобы секс был без презерватива. Александра этого не делала. В ситуации с Алексеем закон косвенно возлагает на Александру обязанность следить за здоровьем партнёра и либо обеспечить наличие у него презерватива на половом члене, либо сообщить о своём ВИЧ-статусе. Возможно, в ситуации равенства партнёр с ВИЧ не побоится раскрыть свой статус или настоять на использовании презерватива. Но Александра оказалась в зависимом от Алексея положении, поскольку проживала у него в квартире. Алексей был почти в два раза старше неё, имел значительный больший жизненный опыт, был физически сильнее. Девушка не нашла в себе сил сказать, что у неё ВИЧ, но активно намекала на то, что ВИЧ можно заразиться, как, к примеру, заразилась её подруга. Иными словами, для уголовной ответственности за постановку в опасность заражения в действиях Александры недостает прямого умысла.

Соображения социальной справедливости требуют, чтобы наивысшей степени общественного порицания – уголовной ответственности – граждане подвергались только за наиболее негативные поступки. Убийства, умышленное причинение вреда здоровью – такие поступки, без сомнения, требуют уголовной ответственности. Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией – нанесение тяжкого вреда здоровью, и ведущие к этому умышленные действия заслуживают уголовной статьи. Однако для этого нет необходимости иметь специальную статью Уголовного кодекса, в которой ВИЧ-инфекция была бы выделена в качестве самостоятельного признака. Есть общие составы преступлений, связанных с причинением вреда здоровью. Наличие специального состава именно против заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией является законодательным отражением особой, возведенной в закон стигмы по отношению к людям, живущим с ВИЧ, а это не соответствует принципу социальной справедливости.

Существенно снижена обязанность стороны обвинения доказывать вину обвиняемого: достаточно самого факта того, что человек живет с ВИЧ, а также признательных показаний, что секс был без презерватива. Вероятность передачи ВИЧ во время секса без презерватива от женщины к мужчине составляет менее одной десятой доли процента. Сам по себе секс без презерватива в целом не настолько опасен с точки зрения передачи ВИЧ-инфекции, чтобы возводить его в ранг уголовного преступления. Важно, чтобы было наличие чёткого прямого умысла, без доказательства которого привлечение к ответственности за секс с партнёром с ВИЧ без презерватива можно сравнить с привлечением к ответственности человека, который держит в руках нож, находясь в непосредственной близости от другого.

Использование презервативов – один из наиболее эффективных способов защиты от ВИЧ при половых контактах. Использование презерватива – вопрос заботы каждого о своем здоровье. Люди должны это понимать, причём должен понимать это каждый человек, вне зависимости от своего ВИЧ-статуса. Состав “постановка в опасность заражения” не учитывает, что в ситуациях интимного контакта далеко не каждый готов раскрыть партнёру свой ВИЧ-статус. Наличие специального состава преступления за постановку в опасность заражения создает у людей без ВИЧ ложное ощущение защищенности, когда несообщение партнером о своём положительном статусе по сути означает, что можно не использовать презерватив. Таким образом подрывается основа эффективного метода защиты населения от ВИЧ – формирование привычки населения использовать презервативы. Обжалуя свой приговор, Александра борется за здоровье населения, а не только за себя.

Тяжба вокруг обвинения Александры продолжается. Возможно, Александре снова придется обжаловать приговор вплоть до Верховного суда в надежде восстановить справедливость в отношении людей, живущих с ВИЧ.

Михаил Голиченко – адвокат, кандидат юридических наук

[update]Belarus: Man living with HIV sentenced to 1.5 years in jail for alleged HIV non-disclosure in Novogrudok

Эпатажного «священника» из Новогрудка осудили за возможность заразить других ВИЧ
April 17, 2019

Source: Наша Ніва / NN.BY –  Published April 16, 2019 Google translation, for article in Russian, please scroll down

Outrageous “priest” from Novogrudok convicted for risking to infect others with HIV

A resident of Novogrudok, DX, better known in social networks as the “Bishop of the World”, was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison in a general regime colony. The verdict was announced in a court of Novogrudok district on April 16, Radio Svaboda reports.

During this period, they will be credited with more than six months, which X has already spent in the SIZO.

This was told by X’s friend Nina Pavlovskaya.

X was convicted of “knowingly creating for another person the danger of contracting a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)” (part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code), that is, he did not warn his sexual partners that he had HIV. According to mothers and friends, X had sexual intercourse during sex.

It is known that five people were recognized as victims, but in court they stated that they had no complaints against X.

X plans to appeal the verdict.

The case was considered for 4 days behind closed doors.

Prior to that, the defendant had been in the Grodno SIZO for more than six months.

Human rights defenders in the field of HIV / AIDS had previously asked the court to acquit X. In their opinion, there was no guilt in the man’s actions.

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Эпатажного «священника» из Новогрудка осудили за возможность заразить других ВИЧ

Жителя Новогрудка Дмитрия Бондаря, более известного в социальных сетях как «епископ мира», осудили на 1,5 года лишения свободы в колонии общего режима. Приговор огласили в суде Новогрудского района 16 апреля, сообщает«Радыё Свабода».

В этот срок зачислят более полугода, что Бондарь уже провел в СИЗО.

Об этом рассказала подруга Дмитрия Бондаря Нина Павловская.

Бондаря признали виновным в «заведомо созданной для другого лица опасности заражения вирусом иммунодефицита человека (ВИЧ)» (ч. 1 ст. 157 Уголовного кодекса), то есть в том, что он не предупреждал своих сексуальных партнеров, что имеет ВИЧ. По словам матери и друзей, Дмитрий при половых контактах использовал средства защиты.

Известно, что пятеро человек были признаны пострадавшими, но в суде они заявили, что не имеют претензий к Бондарю.

Дмитрий планирует обжаловать приговор.

Дело рассмотрели за 4 дня в закрытом режиме.

До этого фигурант более полугода находился в гродненском СИЗО.

Правозащитники в сфере ВИЧ/СПИД ранее просили суд оправдать Бондаря. По их мнению, в действиях мужчины не было вины.

 

 


 Source NewGrodno, April 12, 2019 – Google translation. For article in Russian, please scroll down.

“Allegedly he did not warn that he was ill with HIV.” In Novogrudok began closed trial of the “bishop of the world”

In the court of Novogrudok district, the consideration of the criminal case against the “Bishop of the World”  DX began . He is charged under the heading “Putting another person in danger of becoming infected with HIV.” The trial takes place behind closed doors. All the time, while the investigation was going on (and this is almost 7 months), X was in custody. TUT.BY talked with the mother of the scandalous priest of the Old Catholic Church.

– You know, X is an optimist. I managed to talk to him before the meeting. He even in his difficult situation, trying to joke and not lose heart. Laughing in the cell, almost like a hotel. But seriously, he very much hopes that the trial will be fair. The whole story of him and I was very exhausted,  – says X’s mother  Valentine . She is sure that her son could not infect anyone, because, having learned about his diagnosis, he got registered in the dispensary, took medicines, and protected himself.

However, X faces up to three years in prison.

–  He allegedly did not warn that he was ill with HIV. I can not yet talk about the essence of the matter, but I will say one thing – the witnesses told the whole truth, as it is. And this gives us hope. It is planned that the verdict will be announced next week,  says VX. –  As for the fact that he is allegedly not a priest … He is a priest of the Old Catholic Church. And it’s not his problem that many people don’t like this religious movement,  says Valentina.

– Why does he call himself “the bishop of the world”?

– It was an image for litovka. They invented it together with Sergey Koval. Once a home for all, there will be a “bishop of the world.” And the image suddenly became popular. All these interviews, plots on television, articles … Maybe it was not necessary to have it all, but nothing can be fixed.

Recall, X became widely known for his instagram page. In his numerous interviews, he told me that he was a priest of the Old Catholic Church, wore a robe of a Catholic priest, and rather unconventionally talked about religion and faith. According to the man, he conducted services in the old-Catholic chapel of St. Martin in Novogrudok. In the Novogrudok community of this religious faith there are about 25 people.

Several years ago, Metropolitan Vitaly ordained X to the priesthood. Since 2013, the community was accepted into the Old Catholic Church in Poland. However, in February 2018, the curia of the Grodno Catholic diocese issued a statement that X was not part of the priestly state and had no relation to the Roman Catholic Church.


«Якобы не предупреждал, что болен ВИЧ». В Новогрудке начался закрытый суд над «епископом мира»

В суде Новогрудского района началось рассмотрение уголовного дела в отношении «епископа мира» Дмитрия Бондаря. Он обвиняется по статье «Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ». Суд проходит за закрытыми дверями. Все время, пока шло следствие (а это почти 7 месяцев) Дмитрий находился под стражей. TUT.BY поговорил с мамой скандального ксендза старокатолической церкви.

— Знаете, Дима у нас оптимист. Мне удалось поговорить с ним перед заседанием. Он даже в своей непростой ситуации старается шутить и не падать духом. Смеется, что в камере, почти как в отеле. А если серьезно, то он очень надеется, что суд будет справедливым. Вся эта история его и меня сильно вымотала, — говорит мама Дмитрия Бондаря Валентина. Она уверена, что ее сын никого не мог заразить, ведь, узнав о своем диагнозе, встал на учет в диспансер, принимал лекарства, предохранялся.

Тем не менее, Дмитрию Бондарю грозит до трех лет лишения свободы.

 Он якобы не предупреждал, что болен ВИЧ. Я не могу пока говорить о сути дела, но скажу одно — свидетели рассказывали всю правду, все как есть. И это вселяет в нас надежду. Планируется, что приговор огласят уже на следующей неделе, — говорит Валентина Бондарь. —  Что касается того, что он якобы не священник… Он ксендз старокатолической церкви. И не его беда, что это религиозное течение многим не нравится, — говорит Валентина.

— А почему он себя называет «епископом мира» ?

— Это был образ для Литовки. Они его придумали вместе с Сергеем Ковалем. Раз дом для всех, то будет «епископ мира». И образ вдруг стал популярным. Все эти интервью, сюжеты на телевидении, статьи… Может быть, и не надо это все было, но уже ничего не исправишь.

Напомним, Дмитрий Бондарь стал широко известен благодаря своей страничке в инстаграме. В своих многочисленных интервью он рассказывал, что является ксендзом старокатолической церкви, носил рясу католического священника и достаточно нестандартно рассуждал о религии и вере. По словам мужчины, он проводил службы в старокатолической часовне Святого Мартина в Новогрудке. В новогрудской общине этого религиозного направления насчитывается около 25 человек.

Несколько лет назад митрополит Виталий рукоположил Дмитрия в священники. С 2013 года общину приняли в старокатолическую церковь в Польше. Однако в феврале 2018 года курия Гродненской католической епархии выступила с заявлением о том, что Дмитрий не входит в священнический штат и не имеет никакого отношения к римско-католической Церкви.

 

После задержания Дмитрия, Сергей Коваль закрыл свой дом в Литовке для посещений. Напомним, Сергей построил необычный дом-музей «для всех людей», двери в котором не закрывались для любого желающего круглые сутки. Посетить усадьбу можно было совершенно бесплатно.

Бизнесмен подчеркивал, что задержание старокатолического священника и закрытие необычной усадьбы никак не связаны. В новогоднюю ночь Сергей Коваль покончил жизнь самоубийством.

 
 

 

US: Man living with HIV arrested in Maryland for alleged HIV exposure

Police: Maryland man knowingly transferred HIV to women he met online
April 17, 2019

Source: True Crime Daily, April 16, 2019

FREDERICK, Md. (WITI) — A Maryland man was arrested after police said he knowingly transferred HIV to multiple women he met through online dating, WUSA reported.

Police arrested RX after almost two years of collecting evidence to prove he was knowingly exposing women to HIV.

X is now facing four counts each of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and knowing transfer of HIV.

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