Iraqi delegation set for HIV claim

An Iraqi judge and a senior legal official at the country’s Ministry of Health are preparing civil and criminal actions on behalf of 180 Iraqis who were allegedly infected with HIV by blood plasma produced by a European company.

The delegation, which includes Dr Zakia Hakki, who was appointed Iraq’s first female judge in 1959, and Salem Hamed Ghaydan, director general of the legal department of the Iraq Ministry of Health, have filed a visa application to enter the country where the company is based so as to pursue their claim.

The high-ranking delegation told The Lawyer that all the 180 claimants given the allegedly HIV-infected plasma are haemophiliacs. They believe that there may be more potential claimants, including leukemia patients and pregnant women who were treated for excessive bleeding.

It is claimed that Saddam Hussein introduced legislation in 1993 banning victims and their families from seeking compensation for having been infected with HIV from the plasma.

The delegation also claims to have evidence of family members being tortured and murdered by Hussein’s regime if any of their number complained.

Hussein Damirji, an Iraqi lawyer based in the UK, has been appointed as the delegation’s external legal adviser.