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 (11/26-12/2)
28 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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21. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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22. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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23. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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24. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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25. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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26. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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27. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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28. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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