Russia discriminates against man with HIV: court

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Russia discriminated against an Uzbek man by refusing him permission to stay in the country because he was HIV-positive, the European Court of Human Rights said on Thursday.

Viktor Kiyutin, who was awarded 15,000 euros (20,000 dollars) in damages, married a Russian woman but his request for a residence permit was refused in line with Russian law.

The court acknowledged that the man did not have the right to settle in any country of his choice under the European Convention on Human Rights, but said that people with HIV were a "vulnerable group in society".

Any government, it said, should therefore have very strong reasons for imposing restrictions.

"Just the presence of an HIV positive person in the country does not in itself constitute a threat to public health," the Strasbourg judges said.

The court ruled that Kiyutin was a victim of discrimination based on his health.

Of the 47 countries that are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights only Moldova, Armenia and Russia expel foreigners on grounds of their HIV status.

© 2011 AFP

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