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Court awards HIV-positive women compensation for unjust imprisonment

Women were among dozens paraded as 'HIV-infected prostitutes' during 2012 election campaign

Court rules that imprisonment of two women rounded up in preelection police campaign was unjust and directed they receive €10 compensation for each day they spent in jail

A scene from Ruins, a documentary about the women A scene from Ruins, a documentary about the women Two people who were arrested, labelled and jailed as 'HIV-infected prostitutes' during 2012 election campaign have been awarded compensation by a court which found that they had been unjustly imprisoned.

As OmniaTV reports, a court made the ruling on Friday 4 April, following an appeal by the two women, who were arrested in the crackdown launched by the then health minister, Andreas Loverdos.

The two, who were in jail for about a year, were among at least 32 of women with addiction problems who rounded up from the streets days before the May 2012 elections, forcibly tested for HIV, falsely labelled as prostitutes, named and shamed in the media and held on remand in prison for months.

The mixed jury court ruled that there was no case to remand the women on charges of "intentional grevious bodily harm" and converted the charge to a misdemeanour. Accordingly, their imprisonment was unjust and it directed that they receive €10 compensation for each day they spent in jail.

At least 32 women ended up in jail as part of the crackdown. Eleven of them will be tried on misdemeanour charges on 23 January 2015, after their hearing was deferred last month. Another two will be tried next September.

Some of the women, assisted by organisations supporting them, have submitted a case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The women’s story is the subject of a documentary, Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV Witch-hunt.

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Andreas Loverdos
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
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