German girl band singer faces HIV trial

Nadja Benaissa looks at 10-year jail term for unprotected sex

DARMSTADT, Germany -- A German pop singer accused of knowingly exposing three men to the risk of HIV has confessed to having unprotected sex after finding out she had the virus, authorities said on Monday.

Nadja Benaissa from German girl band No Angels is standing trial for causing grievous bodily harm in one instance and attempted grievous bodily harm on four other occasions when she had sex with the men between 2000 and 2004.

One of her partners later contracted AIDS, while the two others were not infected with HIV. According to state prosecutors, Benaissa became aware she was HIV positive in 1999.

Benaissa confessed to having unprotected sex shortly after the trial opened in the western city of Darmstadt, a court spokesman said.

"I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart," she was quoted as saying by German weekly magazine Stern. "The last thing I wanted was for my partner to get infected."

Born in Frankfurt to a German mother and a Moroccan father, Benaissa and four others formed No Angels in 2000. The band became one of the most successful girl groups in Germany.

Benaissa was initially arrested on the charge last year. Prosecutors' publication of her medical condition sparked criticism that she had been unfairly treated.

If found guilty, she faces a jail term of up to 10 years.
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