The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a 25-year jail sentence against an unlicensed medic who was found to have spread HIV to nearly 300 villagers in Roka commune, in Battambang province’s Sangke district, in 2014.
Yem Chrin, who had practiced medicine in the area since the 1990s, was found to have reused syringes, needles and other medical equipment, allowing the virus to spread among his patients.
Presiding Judge Nin Non announced the decision on Friday by saying that the court agreed with the Appeal Court’s ruling of Sept. 8, 2017.
Chrin was first convicted for torture, cruel behavior resulting in death and pracitising medicine without a license in the Battambang Provincial Court in December 2015.
Chrin was also ordered to pay compensation to 107 victims, ranging from $12.50 to about $3,000, and banned from ever practising medicine in the future.
Defence lawyer Sam Chamroeun said he had hoped the court would show some leniency.
“I think that the court should be reduce his sentence because he did not have the intention to commit a crime,” Chamroeun said.
He added that Chrin was already 60 years old and would be unlikely to be able to spend much more time with his family by the time he is released from prison.
However, Loeum Lorm, a 55-year-old victim in Roka, told CamboJA News by phone that he felt the victims in the community needed more attention and governmental support to cope with the aftermath of Chrin’s care.
“I think the Supreme Court’s decision is correct,” he said.
By Beng Sor, chief of the Roka Health Center, added that for the doctors taking care of Chrin’s victims, 25 years in prison seemed appropriate.
“I think that this sentence is suitable for his action,” Beng Sor said.
He said 38 of those infected by HIV had died so far, including a 77-year-old woman who died last month.