Greece

Greece: Last five HIV+ women arrested in police sweep operation released

HIV positive women seen here in a police line up following their arrests. Their uncensored mug shots were published on the website of the Greek police and reproduced on television

- By Zoe Mavroudi

The HIV-positive women who were imprisoned and exposed publicly in Greece in an unprecedented HIV criminalization case are now all free.

The last five women who had remained in prison awaiting trial for more than ten months were acquitted yesterday in an Athens court. A total of 8 women have been acquitted so far in this case that saw the arrests of 26 HIV positive drug users last May in Athens during a police operation that involved a series of human rights and medical confidentiality violations. The rest of the women have been released and their felony charge of intending to harm alleged clients has been reduced to a misdemeanor.

Whatever the outcome of these pending cases, one thing is certain: the actions of the Greek prosecutors, politicians, doctors and directors from the Greek Center for Disease Control who were directly involved in the case must be investigated. We are following this case closely as part of a documentary on the case at Radiobubble.gr, a documentary that will showcase interviews with some of the women and their families. Yesterday’s developments constitute a vindication not only for them but also for the activists, who have vigorously and tirelessly supported their cause.

In an announcement following the acquittals, the Solidarity Initiative Toward the Persecuted HIV positive Women, an activist initiative formed in the first days following the arrests, called for “criminal liability” in relation to the incident. Already some women together with Greek NGOs have launched law suits in the Greek and European courts.

The full Greek text of the Initiative’s recent announcement can be found here.

 

 

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