A Swiss acupuncturist has been found guilty of intentionally spreading HIV to 16 patients. The 54-year-old 'healer' was accused of using various contexts to poke victims with needles from 2001-2005.
Most of those infected were students of the man, who ran a music school as well as a side practice as an acupuncturist. Many said he stabbed them in the back with an infected needle during treatment.
"The accused and nobody else is responsible for infecting the 16 people," Swiss news agency SDA quoted court president Urs Herren, who added that the man's motive may have stemmed from attention-seeking, revenge, or even to prove his omnipotence.
The man, who cannot be identified due to Swiss privacy laws, was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison, according to the regional court in the canton of Berne. Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year sentence for the spreading of human diseases and causing serious bodily harm.
Police were led to the acupuncturist after a young man who contracted the virus told the hospital when he suspected he contracted it.
Consistently denying the charges, the man blamed the victims saying they got the virus from unprotected sex and intravenous drug use.
Rene Graf, a court spokesman, said the verdict can be appealed.