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Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals established the use of ‘intentional injury’ following a 2004 case which involved a man prosecuted for the transmission of HIV to his wife. The case was initially handled as attempted murder but the Supreme Court of Appeals found him guilty of the lesser crime of intentional injury and he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

The Court established that to be found guilty of ‘intentional injury’ you must be diagnosed HIV-positive, have condomless sex, and have not disclosed your HIV-positive status.  HIV exposure can be also be prosecuted as an attempt.  It is thought that effective treatment may be considered to be a defence. 

In 2018, an Istanbul court rejected murder charges pressed by the mother of an HIV-positive man who had died, and who claimed that the virus was transmitted to her son by his wife, who allegedly did not disclose her HIV-positive status.  The court acquitted the defendant citing lack of evidence and causality with the death.


Turkish Criminal Law

General criminal law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Intentional injury

ARTICLE 86- (1) A person who deliberately hurts someone else’s body or causes his health or perception ability to be impaired is sentenced to imprisonment from one year to three years.

(2) The act of intentional injury is that the victim;
a) For a disease that cannot be cured,  the penalty determined according to the above article is doubled.


We thank Arda Karapinar, Chairperson of Red Ribbon Istanbul Association for his research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.

This information was last reviewed in April 2020