Kazakhstan

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

Kazakhstan included HIV exposure and transmission in its Criminal Code (Articles 115 and 116), enacted in 1994. Whereas knowing transmission of any other STI is punishable by a fine or up to two years in prison, knowing HIV transmission is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. This increases to eight years if more than one person is infected and/or the infected individual is a minor. In addition, knowing HIV exposure is punishable by limitation of freedom for up to three years or up to one year in prison. HIV transmission as a result of medical negligence carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and suspension of the right to practise in the person’s profession for up to three years. 

In 2007, 21 healthcare workers were found guilty of medical malpractice after at least 118 children and 14 mothers were infected with HIV via blood products and unsterilised hospital equipment. Sentences ranged between nine months’ and eight years’ imprisonment; four were suspended.

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: Yes

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No

Prosecutions

Number of prosecutions 4

http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=116&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Convictions

Number of convictions 4

http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=116&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Laws

Applicable laws

Article 116 of Kazakhstan Republic criminal legislation.

  • This is an HIV-specific law.
  • Both exposure and transmission are subject to prosecution.
  • The maximum sentence is 8 years.

Applicable key wording

Article 116 of Kazakh criminal legislation talks of "putting person under the danger of HIV infection".

Article 116. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV / AIDS)

1. Knowingly placing another person in danger of HIV/AIDS - is punished by restriction of freedom for up to three years, or imprisonment for up to six months of marriage, or imprisonment for up to one year.

2. Infection of another HIV / AIDS face a person who knew that he had the disease - is punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

3. The action envisaged in part two of this article, committed against two or more persons, or against a minor - is be punished by an imprisonment for a term from five to eight years.

4. Infection of another person with HIV / AIDS as a result of improper performance of a medical officer, as well as an employee of the organization or other domestic services to the population of their professional duties - are punished by imprisonment for a term up to five years, with disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to three years.

Статья 116. Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека (ВИЧ/СПИД) 

1. Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ/СПИД - наказывается ограничением свободы на срок до трех лет, либо арестом на брак до шести месяцев, либо лишением свободы на срок до одного года.

2. Заражение другого лица ВИЧ/СПИД лицом, знавшим о наличии у него этой болезни, - наказывается лишением свободы на срок до пяти лет. 

3. Деяние, предусмотренное частью второй настоящей статьи, совершенное в отношении двух или более лиц либо в отношении 
заведомо несовершеннолетнего, - наказывается лишением свободы на срок до восьми лет.

4. Заражение другого лица ВИЧ/СПИД вследствие ненадлежащего выполнения медицинским работником, а равно работником организации бытового или иного обслуживания населения своих профессиональных обязанностей - наказывается лишением свободы на срок до пяти лет с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет.

Discussion

Kazakhstan specifically distinguishes in its penal provisions between HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as far as severity of punishment is concerned. It also creates specific sentences for transmission that has occurred as the result of medical negligence – a consequence, at least as far as Kazakhstan is concerned – of failure of health and safety practice that led to a large number of avoidable infections.

Based on media monitoring data, there have been 4 cases documented in Kazakhstan, including two sentences for man on charges of HIV transmission to two and more women; a case against an HIV-positive pregnant woman who was brought by the police to the AIDS Centre for measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission. It's been documented that a nearly a hundred of sex workers were involuntarily tested by the police in 2015, some identified as HIV-positive; their clients were tracked. However it remains unknown whether further charges were raised against them.

Source: Global Commission on HIV and the Law

HIV Justice Network / Kazakhstan

Further reading

Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Working Paper. Criminalization of HIV Exposure and Transmission: a Global Review http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/working-papers?task=document.viewdoc&id=90


Cases

Overview

Latest cases and news can be found at HIV Justice Network / Kazakhstan
In 2007, 21 healthcare workers were found guilty of medical malpractice after at least 118 children and 14 mothers were infected with HIV via blood products and unsterilised hospital equipment. Sentences ranged between nine months’ and eight years’ imprisonment; four were suspended.

In December 2015, Almaty police identified 98 sex workers as HIV-positive and tracks their clients who can be possibly infected with HIV. However, there is no further information on charges for the sex workers related to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

A woman living with HIV from Karaganda, was taken by the police to the AIDS Center to force her to take antiretroviral medication during her pregnancy. The media response discussed only the public health perspective, making the woman appear irrational and uncaring toward her baby. The media said nothing about the reasons why the woman was avoiding treatment, failed to give her a voice, and provided no information about whether social and psychological services were offered to her prior to police involvement.

In 2015-2016, HIV Justice Worldwide (HJN) documented two cases of HIV criminalization of heterosexual men. In one case, Karaganda court ruled that a man who allegedly passed HIV to three women will have a four-year probation; and a man from Temirtau who will serve 7 years in prison on charges of allegedly transmitting HIV to four women.

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017