Medic in HIV Outbreak Appeals His Sentence

An unlicensed medic jailed for infecting nearly 300 Battambang province villagers with HIV should be freed early because he did not intend to hurt anyone, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Speaking after a hearing at which he asked the Appeal Court to reduce Yem Chrin’s sentence from 25 years to 10, Ouk Vandeth said the medic, now in his late 50s, did not mean to infect anyone. “This happened because of his lack of knowledge and carelessness,” he said. “His pity made him do this because he helped people when seeing they were sick.”

Mr. Chrin was convicted in December 2015 of operating without a medical license, intentionally spreading HIV, and torture and acts of cruelty that result in death with aggravating circumstances.

At least 283 residents of Sangke district’s Roka commune, ranging from young children to adults in their 80s, were infected after Mr. Chrin reused infected needles on multiple patients. According to Mr. Vandeth, the general prosecutor on Thursday asked the court to uphold the Battambang Provincial Court’s decision. The verdict will be announced on September 8. 

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