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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Kazakh HIV medics found guilty
The trial in progress (file image)
Not all of the accused were given jail sentences
A court in the Central Asian state of Kazakhstan has found 21 medical workers guilty of causing an HIV outbreak which has so far killed 10 children.

At least 119 children and babies contracted the virus after receiving treatment in hospitals in Shymkent.

The judge said that the accused had acted recklessly, and that corruption and malpractice led to the outbreak.

The HIV outbreak was first discovered last year, but the number of cases is still rising.

The night before the verdict, another child died. He was two years old.

This trial is over but the Shymkent HIV problem is not, says the BBC's Natalia Antelava in the town.

Unnecessary transfusions

The judge announced that all 21 medical workers on trial were guilty. But for each defendant he announced a different punishment.

Medical workers accused of trading illegal blood were sentenced to eight years in prison.

Several doctors were sentenced from three to five years.

But the former head of the regional health department and four of her deputies had their sentences suspended.

Mothers of the victims wailed and shouted as they heard that one woman, who many local people hold responsible for the outbreak, would not be jailed.

Many said that this was not the kind of justice they were hoping for, and added that they would appeal.

An investigation into the outbreak found that many children had unnecessary and often multiple blood transfusions.

Medical equipment was often not sterilised properly.

One boy, who is now aged two, contracted the virus after receiving a blood transfusion prescribed to treat pneumonia.

The prosecutors alleged that the doctors were selling blood to make money.

It is unclear why the suspected infected transfusions affected only children.

Scenes from inside the courtroom

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