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Kazakhstan Appeals Court Upholds Prison Terms in AIDS Case

by VR Sreeraman on August 4, 2007 at 6:10 PM
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Kazakhstan Appeals Court Upholds Prison Terms in AIDS Case

An appeals court in Kazakhstan Friday upheld prison sentences for 21 people convicted after 118 children and 14 mothers were infected with HIV in public hopsitals and nine deaths.

But the court said four of the women would only begin serving their sentences once their children turned 14 years old.

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Two of them would start their jail terms in 2018, another in 2014 and the last, who is currently eight months pregnant, would only start her sentence in 2021.

The heaviest sentence passed by the court in Shymkent at the end of June was eight years in jail for three of the defendants.

The scandal shocked the oil-rich Central Asian country and revealed alarming corruption in hospitals, leading to the firing of the health minister.
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Three paediatricians at the hospitals where the infections occurred got eight-year sentences and 14 others were given jail terms ranging between nine months and seven and a half years.

Four of the accused, including the former head of the regional health ministry, Nursulu Tasmagambetova, were given suspended sentences.

Most of those infected with the virus, which can lead to AIDS, fell victim during blood transfusions, often involving unsterilised medical equipment, the prosecution said.

Hospitals were also found selling equipment meant for single-use only, including needles for syringes, obliging doctors to employ used and badly-sterilised needles.

Source: AFP
LIN/J
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