Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The latest on Nadja's case...

From the BBC News webpage:

A singer from the German girl band No Angels arrested on suspicion of infecting a partner with HIV has been released from custody.

Prosecutors say Nadja Benaissa, 26, had unprotected sex with three men without informing them she was infected, and that one later tested positive himself.

Ms Benaissa's lawyers said she should enjoy the presumption of innocence.

A spokesman for a court in the town of Darmstadt said her release was subject to certain undisclosed conditions.

Ms Benaissa was arrested in Frankfurt 10 days previously, before she was due to perform in a solo concert. The prosecutor's office in the western town of Darmstadt said she had been detained because of the "urgent suspicion" that she slept with three people between 2004 and 2006, without telling them she was HIV-positive.

She reportedly faces a possible charge of grievous bodily harm. But her lawyers note that there is no proof that she infected anyone.

Benaissa was chosen to join No Angels in 2000 through the TV casting show Popstars.
The group recorded a series of hits and emerged as Germany's most successful girl band.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nadja Benaissa's shocking arrest

Many people have been asking me to comment on Nadja's arrest recently, as she is one of the original members of the girlgroup 'No Angels', the band I helped form on the German show 'Popstars'.

On April 11, 2009, Nadja was arrested on suspicion of having had unprotected intercourse on several occassions in 2004 and 2006 without beforehand informing her partners that she is HIV-positive, allegedly infecting one partner with HIV. She faces a possible charge of dangerous bodily harm. She was remanded in custody, after a judge ruled there was a danger she might repeat the alleged offence. If found guilty, the offence would carry a sentence of six months to ten years imprisonment.

Obviously, I'm in shock about the whole case. This is just awful. And it's weird to read something like that about someone you know.

When we picked Nadja for the band, one of the reasons was the fact that she had been living quite a 'hard life' up till then. She was a single mum & was desperately trying to make ends meet. She was a bit wild child before, but it seemed that she had faced her demons. I didn't know that she had caught HIV (I assume she became infected during those early years), but we were well aware of her past & we wanted to give her the chance to have a better future. For herself and for her daughter too.

Everything seemed to have worked out so great and now this...

Some people asked me what I expected was going on through her mind. Did she think 'If I am going to die, I'm bringing some people down with me'? Surely not. I can't imagine that that would be the case.

I did once know a young rent boy (hanging out in the London gay scene, I used to know many) who was HIV-positive. He had told me so himself and I also knew the person he caught it from. Soon after he had poured his heart out to me, he 'disappeared' from the scene. No one knew where he had gone and we were all quite worried about him, but assumed that he had gone back to be with his family.

Roughly a year later, he showed up on my doorstep. He looked like any other 19-year-old. Healthy, clean, well-dressed, etc. He came in and told me about his life. He had moved up North, got a job and a new girlfriend. He chatted for ages and was all happy and bubbly. I, on the other hand, got quieter by the minute and wondered how he was dealing with the HIV and wondered if he had told his new, young girlfriend about his past.

When I asked him, he just blew up in my face. 'What are you suggesting? Are you saying I'm gay? I'm not gay. I'm not HIV positive. You're full of s***t!' He stormed out of my house and I never saw him again. This was before mobile phones, email accounts, etc. So I didn't have any way to contact him again.

When I discussed his reaction with another friend who's a counsellor to HIV and Aids patients, he told me that- sadly enough- this is a reaction they see more often than anyone realizes. Many people go into complete denial and continue to infect others by pretending 'that nothing is wrong'.

Is this what happened in Nadja's case? I don't know. But it's one possible explanation for what happened. Of course, this doesn't make her reckless behaviour any more excusible.

Let this be a lesson to everyone though, that we can't be complacent when it comes to safe sex. Even the most beautiful, successful, 'picture of health' people can be HIV carriers & they may not share their health status with you, if they are even aware of it to start with.

So be safe!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If there is still anyone out there who hasn't yet watched Susan Boyle's it now!

This is amazing! I can't embed the clip, but watch the performance of Susan Boyle on 'Britain's got talent'.

Her performance has so far received 5 million hits on Utube (It's been taken off the site by now). Even Hollywood actress Demi Moore has joined the legions of fans who have voiced their support on the internet.

Ms Boyle, who is currently unemployed, is a keen church-goer and community worker who is well-known for her Karaoke performances. She has shared with the audience that 'she has never been kissed' and has dreamed of being a singer since the age of 12 (she is now 47)

Watch this uplifting clip now!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ape Magazine & RetoMatic gig

For those of you in band RetroMatic are back on stage at Chaos, this Saturday the 4th of April at 11.00 pm. Please, come out and support! It's gonna be fun.

And for those of you who can read Dutch, check out my recent interview with Ape Magazine. Also available for free at the Free Record Shop & at clubs, gig and festivals in Holland: (April issue, pages 30-31)