Kyrgyzstan

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Kyrgyzstan: Nine doctors jailed for negligent HIV transmission

15 Aug 2008
Nine doctors have been sentenced to between three and five years in prison in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan following an HIV outbreak among 72 children and 16 mothers at two hospitals. The news story on the sentencing from … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

Kyrgyzstan criminalises HIV exposure and transmission in its Criminal Code (Articles 117 and 118), enacted in 2005. Whereas knowing transmission of any other STI is punishable with a fine, limitation of freedom for up to three years or imprisonment for up to three years, knowing HIV transmission is punishable by limitation of freedom for up to five years or imprisonment for up to five years. In addition, knowing HIV exposure is punishable by correctional labour, limitation of freedom or imprisonment, all for up to one year. A person is not liable for either offence if they disclosed that they were HIV-positive and the partner agreed to the risk behaviour prior to sex. HIV transmission as a result of medical negligence is punishable by limitation of freedom for up to five years or imprisonment for up to five years with a prohibition to hold certain positions for up to three years. 

In 2008, nine healthcare workers were found guilty of medical malpractice after at least 24 children were infected with HIV via unsterilised hospital equipment. Sentences ranged between three and five years imprisonment; they were also ordered to pay compensation to the children's families.

In 2013, 70 sex workers in Bishkek were subjected to forced HIV and STI testing. No data available if that was followed by any prosecution.

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 2

Latest cases and news can be found at http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=122&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Convictions

Number of convictions 3

Latest cases and news can be found at http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=122&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Laws

Applicable laws

Criminal Law of the Kyrgyz Republic, Law about HIV/AIDS in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Article 117 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Applicable key wording

Article 117. Infection with HIV

(1) Knowingly placing another person in danger of HIV infection - shall be punished by restriction of freedom / imprisonment for up to three years.

(2) Infection of another person with HIV by a person who knew that he had the disease - shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of three to five years.

(3) The act provided by part two of this article, committed against two or more persons or a minor - shall be punished by imprisonment for the term from five to seven years.

(4) Infection of another person with HIV as a result of improper performance of a medical professional of their professional duties, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of three to five years, with disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to three years.

Note. A person who commits an act stipulated by the first or second paragraph of this Article shall be exempt from criminal liability if the other person set out in the risk of HIV infection, was a timely warning of the presence of the disease and voluntarily agreed to carry out actions that created the risk of infection.

In Article 117 is amended in accordance with the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on 25.06.07 #91; Law of the KR dated 09.07.13 #125.

Key wording in Russian: Статья 117. Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией 

(1) Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией, - наказывается ограничением свободы на срок до трех лет либо лишением свободы на срок до трех лет.

 (2) Заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него этой болезни, - наказывается лишением свободы на срок от трех до пяти лет.

(3) Деяние, предусмотренное частью второй настоящей статьи, совершенное в отношении двух или более лиц либо несовершеннолетнего, - наказывается лишением свободы на срок от пяти до семи лет. 

(4) Заражение другого лица ВИЧ-инфекцией вследствие ненадлежащего выполнения медицинским работником своих профессиональных обязанностей, наказывается лишением свободы на срок от трех до пяти лет с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет.

Примечание. Лицо, совершившее деяние, предусмотренное частями первой или второй настоящей статьи, освобождается от уголовной ответственности в случае, если другое лицо, поставленное в опасность заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией, было своевременно предупреждено о наличии у первого этой болезни и добровольно согласилось совершить действия, создавшие опасность заражения. 

В статью 117 внесены изменения в соответствии с Законом КР от 25.06.07 г. № 91 (см. стар. ред.); Законом КР от 09.07.13 г. № 125 (см. стар. ред.)

Discussion

The specific law about transmission of HIV was introduced in August 2005. Other sexually transmitted infections are also subject to prosecutions under the Criminal Law, statute 118 (Administrative Law about wilful neglect of transmitted infections examination and treatment).

According to our information there have been no prosecutions for the 'sexual' transmission of HIV from one individual to another. However there have been at least 15 prosecutions for transmission brought about by medical negligence. All of these prosecutions occurred in 2008. It is our understanding that as of September 2008 this had resulted in 3 convictions.

Further reading

Kyrgyzstan rocked by HIV scandal (BBC-News, March 20, 2008)

Latest cases and news can be found at: HIV Justice Network/ Kyrgyzstan

Cases

Overview

In 2008, nine doctors have been sentenced to between three and five years in prison in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan following an HIV outbreak among 72 children and 16 mothers at two hospitals. An HIV outbreak among 72 children and 16 mothers at two hospitals in Kyrgyzstan has led to charges of negligence against 14 medical workers, who are believed to have accidentally infected the children through tainted blood and used needles, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. Four Kyrgyz physicians were fired in July 2007 for accidentally infecting 10 children and one adult with HIV. Ministry of Health officials said the children and the adult contracted HIV while receiving injections and blood transfusions but gave no other details (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/1/07). Hundreds of children have been tested since the outbreak was first discovered in July.  According to the AP/Chronicle, some of the mothers contracted the virus through breastfeeding their children.
In December, 2017, 70 sex workers were detained for forced HIV/AIDS and STI testing. According to the police, one of the girls was diagnosed by doctors  with HIV. No information available if further charges were brought against the sex worker.

Latest cases and news can be found at: HIV Justice Network/ Kyrgyzstan

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017