Monday, August 16, 2010
Eurovision singer says sorry..
Nadja Benaissa a member of the German girl band No Angels has admitted to having unprotected sex with several partners without warning them that she was HIV-positive.
Nadja Benaissa, 28, was speaking at the opening of her trial in the German city of Darmstadt.
"I am so sorry," she told the court.
She faces charges of grievous bodily harm for allegedly infecting one man, and attempted bodily harm over two men who were not infected.
If convicted, Ms Benaissa faces a prison sentence ranging from six months to 10 years.
The singer was arrested in Frankfurt last year, shortly before she was due to perform a solo concert, and spent 10 days in custody.
Aids gala declaration
Aids campaigners were critical of the authorities' handling of the arrest and warned against a rush to criminalise the transmission of HIV, the BBC's Tristana Moore reports from Berlin.
According to prosecutors, Ms Benaissa knew she was HIV-positive as early as 1999.
A former lover, who is HIV-positive, has said the singer infected him in 2004 and is due to appear in court in Darmstadt as a co-claimant.
Last November Ms Benaissa appeared at an Aids charity gala in Berlin and openly declared: "My name is Nadja Benaissa, I'm 27 years old, I have a daughter - and I'm HIV-positive."
No Angels were formed in 2000 on the international TV show Popstars, before recording a series of hits and emerging as Germany's most successful girl band.
They re-formed in 2007 and competed in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 23rd with the song 'Disappear' with a total of 14 points – taking 12 points from Bulgaria, band member Lucy Diakovska's native country, and 2 points from Switzerland only. Only the United Kingdom and Poland placed below the four-member female band.