All this is not my stuff, but I think we should know about it. Why do I care? Why shouldnt I?
The Egyptian government has handed down indictments against five more men who are HIV-positive.
The five are among 12 men detained on grounds of HIV since October 2007, in what appears to be a widening police crackdown. All were held on charges of "habitual practice of debauchery," a term used under Egyptian law to prosecute consensual sexual acts between men.
Four of the 12 already have been sentenced to one-year prison terms. (story) Charges against three others were dropped.
Before issuing the indictment, the lead prosecutor told a lawyer for the defendants that the men should not be allowed to "roam the streets freely" because the government considered them "a danger to public health,"
police arrested the first two men after stopping them during an altercation in the street. At that time one told police officers that he was HIV-positive.
The defendants’ lawyers told Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that officers detained both men, beat them and subjected them to abusive and intrusive physical examinations, trying to prove they had engaged in homosexual conduct. They then arrested other men whose names or personal information were found in the two men’s possession.
According to the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, doctors from Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population subjected all 12 detainees to HIV tests without their consent. Authorities kept those who tested HIV-positive confined in hospitals for weeks. They were chained to their beds until February 25, when the ministry ordered them unchained after domestic and international outcry.
The case files also contained the results of the compulsory HIV tests. Four of the five men tested HIV-positive. The three men whose charges were dropped tested HIV-negative.
"These men have been treated as if they are a national threat simply because four of them were found to be HIV-positive," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
"The authorities should not be prosecuting them, but rather investigating the abuse and ill-treatment meted out against them and taking steps to ensure that such abuse does not happen again."
Oh well, no comment. But it is a shame that in this day and age a country can treat someone who is HIV positive like a criminal. Thought we had got over that some time ago...