Cyprus: Cypriot fisherman sentenced to 15 years in jail for alleged HIV transmission


Aids case lover jailed for 15 months Cypriot is jailed for Aids 'crime'

August 1, 1997
Source: The Independent

Cypriot fisherman X was yesterday jailed for 15 months for knowingly infecting British divorcee JP with Aids.

Looking shocked and dejected, X, 40, was taken straight from the court under police escort to start his prison sentence in Nicosia, the island capital. X’s twin brother, Petros, broke down in tears outside the court in Lanarca and said he was “surprised” at the sentence.

Judge Antonis Liatsos said that the only reason he did not impose the full two-year penalty was that X, a father-of-four, was himself dying of Aids and only had a short time to live.

After the sentence, Ms P, 45, said, from her home in Basildon, Essex: “This will hopefully make Paul (X) realise what he has done and stop him from doing it again.”

She added: “He just did not care that he might … make me die, and he has never shown any remorse.”

When X was convicted on Tuesday after a trial which spread over three months, he said: “I’m going to die soon. What is going to scare me any more? Even death does not scare me.” But yesterday he looked stunned as the verdict was read out.

Judge Liatsos said: “He is tragically condemned and it would be expected he would have tried to avoid putting others in the same condition … without telling her, he was ejaculating death in her for months.”

The test case was brought under an obscure 1957 law intended to prevent the spread of cholera, typhoid and venereal disease on Cyprus.

Judge Liatsos said the British colonial legislation under which X was charged was insufficient and that such a crime would normally merit a stiffer penalty.

The case was only brought at all because Ms P, a mother-of-two, flew 2,000 miles to Cyprus to give evidence against her former lover, despite being chronically ill.

The couple had met through friends in 1993 shortly after Ms P had arrived to start a new life on the island after divorcing her husband of 20 years. During three days of court questioning last May, Ms P said that when she and X became lovers she did not think to use condoms because they had both been in long-standing marriages. She later discovered that X’s wife had died from Aids.

In his defence, X claimed that Ms P had known his HIV status but had been so much in love with him that she insisted on unprotected sex. He also alleged that Ms P had a succession of sexual encounters with other Cypriot men.

Judge Liatsos was unconvinced. “[X] tried to conceal his guilt all along,” he said. “Taking into account the severity of the offence committed, I have no hesitation in stating that a prison sentence is unavoidable.”

Aids charities in Britain said the sentence could stigmatise and isolate sufferers. Director of the National Aids Trusts, Derek Bodell, said: “It is very dangerous if we try to introduce similar laws. People will feel they cannot disclose their HIV status or will not even want to know their status because ignorance will be bliss.”