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Prosecutors seek suspended sentence for No Angels singer

AFP · 25 Aug 2010, 17:58

Published: 25 Aug 2010 16:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2010 17:58 GMT+02:00

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Prosecutor Peter Liesenfeld called for a two-year suspended sentence for

grievous bodily harm during closing arguments in the trial of the 28-year-old

singer, a high-profile case that AIDS groups fear could harm their cause.

Liesenfeld said the singer, a member of the girl group No Angels, should receive lenient treatment as she had confessed in court and "shown an understanding of her guilt."

Her confession was "an important point that must be taken into consideration," he said.

Benaissa, wearing a long grey shirt and black trousers, appeared nervous as the prosecutor delivered his summing-up and kept her eyes fixed on the ground.

"I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I would love to turn back the clock, but I can't," she said.

During testimony earlier in the trial, the mother-of-one broke down in tears as she made a dramatic apology for keeping her HIV status a secret from her sexual partners, but denied intending to infect anyone with the virus.

A medical expert, Josef Eberle, testified earlier Wednesday that Benaissa had in all probability infected one of her partners, a plaintiff in the case, as they both had a strain of the virus that is relatively rare in Germany.

When she was charged in February with causing bodily harm and attempting to cause bodily harm, the news was leaked to the press, sparking a media frenzy and a debate about trial by media and presumption of innocence.

According to the charge sheet, the defendant had unprotected sex five times between 2000 and 2004 with three men and did not tell them she was infected.

Respected news magazine Der Spiegel described the trial as a "stigmatising witch hunt" and AIDS organisations expressed their concern that HIV carriers would feel pressured to take sole responsibility for safe sex.

"We are concerned about the result of the trial because it risks sending the message that you shouldn't get screened for the HIV virus because if you don't know, you're not liable," said Volker Mertens, spokesman for the German AIDS help association.

Story continues below…

"The trial could also give the impression that an HIV carrier has a greater responsibility whereas we believe everyone should assume responsibility when it comes to sexual relations, for example by insisting on condom use," he added.

The case also sparked intense media interest because the half-Moroccan singer shot to fame in 2000 thanks to a television talent show and went on to score a string of hits in central Europe.

No Angels split up in 2003, but reformed in 2007 and competed in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, coming 23rd out of 25 countries.

A verdict was expected Thursday.

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Your comments about this article

18:04 August 25, 2010 by hOU
She's 100% proll trash.

Good riddance.
20:00 August 25, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Why did they bother to go through the expense of this trial when they could have obtained the same result with a plea bargain and saved the taxpayers a lot of money? This has all the earmarks of a show trial. For what good purpose?
21:38 August 25, 2010 by mikecowler
@ spiderpig of course shes an Angel...ANGEL OF DEATH!!!
22:40 August 25, 2010 by mikecowler
europaeuropa maybe the infected victims want anonaminity cos they and their associated families dont want to be persacuted and witch hunted....
23:33 August 25, 2010 by STD Carriers
This is awful, she needs to be made an example of so that I don't have add people to my HIV crime research project each month when I Google related terms.
02:04 August 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I think she already has been made an example of.
04:57 August 26, 2010 by proclusian
Wow. You can cut the misogyny on this comment thread with a knife it's so thick.

I'm with Prufrock (for once). This woman has suffered quite enough.
12:22 August 26, 2010 by Gaffers
Grevious bodily harm? Last time I checked HIV was incurable and results in transitioning to AIDS and death. She knowingly put someones life at risk. There is a high chance of transmitting the desease through unprotected sex. Will she get charged with manslaughter when they die? She should be. The strain of HIV the victim has is rare (accordinging to the medical expert) so a very high chance she passed it on. There is the evidence.

Yes both parties have a responsibility to take precautions BUT if one knows they are HIV they MUST make the partner aware if they are going to have unprotected sex. It's a moral responsibility.

It is a shame she has a child that will suffer out of this too but that doesn't make a difference to the case.

This may sound harsh but I'm certain if this was nearer to home to some of you and not some crying pop star your views would be different. Imagine it was your brother or sister that got infected. Would you be saying poor girl? I doubt it very much....
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