Police Raid Home, Arrest Acupuncturist Charged with Intentionally Infecting 16 Clients with HIV
Police in Switzerland have arrested a music teacher and self-professed healer in Bern. The man, who has been unnamed in all media reports, allegedly intentionally injected 16 people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He denies the charges and says that he is the victim of a conspiracy.
According to the Agence France Presse, the man has been on trial since March 6, earlier this month. The Associated Press reports that prosecutors say that he infected more than a dozen people with HIV between the years of 2001 and 2005. The prosecution says that he used a number of pretenses in order to prick the victims. Most of the people were his former music students.
As World Radio Switzerland reports, all of the victims have been infected with the same strain of HIV, bolstering the prosecution's claim that the man charged with the crime was, in fact, behind it. However, a scientist from the University of Zurich testified that it was unlikely that an acupuncture needle was used. Instead, a syringe was most likely used in the attacks.
The defense attorney has contested the testimony. However, the lawyer has not been helped along by the client, or the lawyer's efforts have been lacking. Geneva Lunch reports that the man was expected to be in court this week, but he missed two hearings. His lawyer provided a medical certificate saying that the defendant suffered from an extreme case of fatigue that made it impossible for him to appear in court. The court replied by stating that the document was a fake.
As a result, the police were charged to arrest the man. The ensuing standoff outside the defendant's home in the town of Bern, which neighbors southern France, lasted for 24 hours. The man refused to cooperate with the police officers who were tasked with forcing him to attend court. He locked himself in the house and threatened to use a gun.
Finally, the police stormed the house. They arrested the 54-year-old man and a woman, who was also in the house during the raid.
Prosecutors are asking the court to sentence the man to 15 years in prison for the crime.