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Precedent now set; Court passes unbelievable sentence on man for disclosing another’s HIV status.

In what is expected to serve as a lesson to anyone that might intend to expose the HIV status of another, whether falsely, or even truthfully, a Court has pronounced a heavy sentence upon a man who exposed the HIV status of the other on WhatsApp during the course of a bitter and heated argument that was touching on politics.

 


The seven-member tribunal led by Hellen Namisi found that the defendant violated the law in disclosing the petitioner’s status, real or perceived, without his consent and discriminated against him.

 


According to suit papers, both were members of the same social media platform, known as Rarieda Political Forum.


The records referred to the defendant as MO, and the petitioner as GO, in order to protect their identities.

 


GO sued MO before the HIV and Aids Tribunal.


On November 27, 2020, GO filed a case seeking to restrain MO from disclosing his HIV status and from discriminating against and harassing him.
He also sought an award as compensation for impairment of his dignity and his emotional and psychological suffering.


MO was ordered to pay Kshs 900,000.

The WhatsApp group has at least 250 members.


The trouble began on May 14, 2019, when GO engaged in a political discussion on that WhatsApp group. He expressed views that diverged from those of MO.
In retaliation, MO is said to have posted a comment in the native Dholuo language on the WhatsApp group, alleging GO was HIV-positive.


Thereafter, on two separate occasions, MO is said to have hurled insults at GO in both Dholuo and English, suggesting he was HIV-positive.


The tribunal heard MO was unapologetic and has continued to discriminate, harass and frustrate GO by his continued verbal abuse, telling him to complain to the International Criminal Court if he wishes.


Some members of the group, the tribunal was told, asked MO to take down his posts and apologise. He refused.


As a result of the remarks, GO said, he suffered mockery from other people in other groups.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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