Three men went on trial in the Netherlands Monday charged with drugging gay men at sex orgies, raping them, and injecting them with blood contaminated with the HIV virus.
The three HIV-positive suspects, including a nurse, appeared at a court in the northern city of Groningen accused of intentionally spreading the deadly virus at sex parties they promoted on the Internet.
They face charges of aggravated assault, rape, and the illegal possession of drugs. The suspects, aged 35, 48 and 49, were arrested in May last year after a number of their 14 alleged victims laid charges. They face
prison up to 21 years in jail.
The prosecution alleges the victims were sedated with a combination of ecstasy and the date rape drug GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid), before being raped or injected with a cocktail of their assailants'
12 victims now HIV+
Twelve of the victims, ranging in age from their twenties to their forties, are now HIV-positive, their lawyer Fred Kappelhof told AFP. Some of them were present Monday for the start of the week-long trial.
One of the victims will make a statement to the court on Wednesday.
"The victims hope that their assailants will be punished," said Kappelhof. "They are hoping the trial will provide an answer to the question of why this happened to them."
If the men are convicted, the victims plan to launch civil proceedings for compensation, their lawyer said.
In June 2006, health authorities reported a rapid rise in HIV infections among homosexual men in the town of Groningen, and started issuing warning pamphlets at gay meeting places. – (Sapa, October 2008)
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