AIDS HAS claimed another victim -- this time one who is serving a four-year prison sentence after paying 500,000 franc (Rs 3.1 lakh) fine. The trial on a charge of distributing HIV-tainted blood through the French National Blood Transfusion Centre in 1985, ended with the centre's director, Michel Garretta, the main accused, being declared guilty. Four other officials of the centre received lesser sentences.
In the uproar that followed, claims were made stating that politicians had been let off and officials made scapegoats. Former French health minister Edmond Herve accepted that he had agreed to the blood distribution on Garretta's advice, while Georgina Dufoix, former minister of social affairs, stated she was "responsible but not guilty". Former prime minister Laurent Fabius contended he had no knowledge of the contaminated blood.
The blood is known to have been used in transfusions for 1,500 haemophiliacs, 250 of whom have died.
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