Ver­dict for man with HIV who slept with young girls

The Star (Kenya) - - News World -

A ver­dict is ex­pected this week in the case of a man ar­rested in Malawi af­ter he told a BBC re­porter he had had sex with pubescent girls as part of a “cleans­ing” rit­ual.

But some Malaw­ians are ask­ing why only one man is on trial for a prac­tice in­volv­ing whole com­mu­ni­ties.

Eric Aniva was ar­rested in July on pres­i­den­tial or­ders af­ter he ad­mit­ted hav­ing un­pro­tected sex with girls as young as 12 – and keep­ing quiet about his HIV-pos­i­tive sta­tus.

Aniva says he was hired by the girls’ rel­a­tives to take part in a sex­ual ini­ti­a­tion cer­e­mony which they be­lieve “shakes off” the girl’s child­hood “dust” so that she can en­ter adult­hood.

“We be­lieve that if a widow or wid­ower is not sex­u­ally cleansed, then bad luck, sud­den death or ill­ness will come to some, or all, of the clan,” a so­cial worker said.

When Malawi’s Pres­i­dent Peter Mutharika or­dered the ar­rest, he wanted Aniva tried for de­fil­ing young girls, but no girls came for­ward to tes­tify against him. So in­stead Aniva is be­ing tried for “harm­ful cul­tural prac­tice”, in which he had sex with newly be­reaved wid­ows.

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