The many faces of murder

first_imgWith the definition of taking lives with intent, how does one who has a highly-contagious disease that is a certain killer, such as HIV/AIDS, who knowingly and deliberately infects others who are unaware of their ailment rate in this equation?While one could empathise and sympathise with someone who is ill, especially with a life-threatening disease, one cannot condone – certainly one can scarcely forgive someone who deliberately infects another with a deadly disease.Contracting HIV is in effect a death sentence, with lifestyle changes and proper medication with optimum care – later rather than sooner, but definitely one that heralds a contracted lifespan, with death imminent through unavoidable medical complications.  One can only agonise over the unnecessary loss of lives.However, there are umpteen cases – registered and unregistered, known and unknown, where innocent persons have been infected by persons whom they have trusted implicitly.  Marital partners, for instance, have, in many instances, engaged in extramarital relationships without considering the consequences of their lust. Although fully aware of the danger they can bring to their marital bed, they engage in normal conjugal relationships with their spouses.Sometimes, in macabre irony, the one who infected his/her partner is saved for years from getting full-blown AIDS, long after the partner dies, and many times the guilty party accuse the innocent one of infecting them.There are countless persons with such sad stories, with variations, but with the same outcome, all over the world.Wikipedia reports that in many English-speaking countries, and in most of the states that have signed the European Convention of Human Rights, knowingly infecting others with HIV can lead to criminal prosecution. In a 2004 survey of the latter group, the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS found that at least one prosecution had occurred in about half of these countries, and that in Finland, Sweden and Slovakia, about 0.5 per cent to one per cent of all people reported to be living with HIV/AIDS had been prosecuted for alleged intentional or “negligent” transmission of HIV. In many developing countries, such as Thailand, where the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been much more serious, laws regarding criminalisation of intentional transmission have been either weak or non-existent. From a global perspective, the US and Canada account for the vast majority of reported prosecutions.In Guyana, there was a controversial motion (July 2010) that sought to amend laws in order to make persons criminally responsible for wilfully infecting others with HIV; as well as to allow for pertinent information to be used by prosecution, if so required; and for hospitals, clinics and such agencies that need relevant information that could help in the treatment of an infected person.That motion also sought to have instituted a charge of attempted murder against any individual found to have knowingly endangered the life of another.Murder One is defined as the taking of the life of another human being with intent.  The unintentional loss of a life as a result of another’s actions can be deemed manslaughter, or Murder Two, by the institutions of the law.Many lives are lost or compromised as direct and indirect consequences of deliberate and intentional actions of carriers of infectious, life-threatening diseases, whose actions are just as effective as if they had put a gun to the heads of their victims and blown their brains out, which may have been a merciful death.  They are no lesser criminals than convicted killers and they should be prosecuted as the murderers they are.last_img

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