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 (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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