KAMPALA, Uganda — A Ugandan court on Monday sentenced a nurse to three years in jail after finding her guilty of criminal negligence for allegedly trying to infect her patient with HIV.
The conviction came despite the work of international activist groups that had rallied in support of Rosemary Namubiru, who is 64 and HIV positive.
Many Ugandans, however, see her case as a shocking example of malice or negligence by a trusted medical worker.
Namubiru maintained her innocence throughout the trial, saying there was no malice involved when she accidentally pricked herself one day in January and then used the same contaminated needle to give a baby an injection. When the child’s mother realized the needle had not been changed, she raised an alarm and Namubiru was immediately arrested. She was later denied bail in a controversial decision by a magistrate who ruled that she posed a danger to the public.
Two tests have shown the child was not infected with HIV, according to court records.
Prosecutors insisted a crime had been committed, but international activist groups said Namubiru was the victim of stigma and discrimination because of her HIV status and that her trial was unwarranted. Namubiru should have faced the disciplinary hearing by a professional body such as the local nurses’ association, not a criminal trial, said the Global Access Project, a New York-based advocacy group.
“The deeply flawed ruling shows that stigma and discrimination against people with HIV is alive and well in Uganda,” Asia Russell, the group’s director of international policy, said on Monday. “Because of her HIV status, Rosemary’s trial was plagued from the beginning with bias. Rosemary never had the presumption of innocence the Constitution guarantees.”
Namubiru’s arrest was widely covered in the Ugandan press, with some dubbing her the “killer nurse,” a description that some activists said violated her right to a fair trial.
Although the nurse was charged under a colonial-era law against negligence that spreads a deadly disease, Ugandan lawmakers have since passed a law specifically criminalizing the intentional transmission of HIV as part of the government’s efforts to stem the growing rate of HIV in this East African country. That measure also has been criticized by groups that say such a law will be difficult to enforce and may also be used to violate the rights of people living with HIV.
According to the most recent survey by Uganda’s Ministry of Health, 7.3 percent of the Ugandan population has HIV, up from about 6 percent a decade ago.
At least 60 countries criminalize the transmission of HIV or the failure to disclose one’s HIV status to sex partners, according to AIDS-Free World, a New York-based advocacy group that opposes the criminalization of HIV transmission.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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