‘No Angel’s’ singer confesses

One of Germany’s most famous pop
stars has made a tearful courtroom apology for keeping her HIV status a secret
from her sexual partners.

“I am so sorry,” said
28-year-old Nadja Benaissa to the court in Darmstadt near Frankfurt.

Benaissa, who is in the girl band
No Angels, is charged with deliberately infecting one of her partners with HIV,
a charge she denies.

She is also accused of exposing
three other men to the virus.

If found guilty she could be
sentenced to 10 years in prison.

She is accused of having
unprotected sex with four men between 2000 and 2004 without warning them of her
illness. It is alleged one of the victims is now HIV positive.

The man, whose name was not
released told the court he had found out about Benaissa being HIV positive from
her aunt and went to his doctor for a blood test straight away.
“A few hours later the doctor rang and told me to come over. I went to
pick up the results with my brother,” and found out he was infected, he
told the court.
“You have created a lot of suffering in the world,” he told the
singer.

The 28-year-old admitted in court
to being careless and not telling her partners about her condition.

In a statement read by her lawyer
she conceded she had not handled the virus properly and admitted having
unprotected sex.

Gisela Friedrichsen, a journalist
for Der Spiegel magazine, said: “She wants to say how things happened and
she admits to her mistake saying that she should have dealt with this (disease)
a bit more proactively.

“But on the other hand, if
this was released to the public earlier, she said that she also had a certain responsibility
to the band, as the careers of her band mates would also have been destroyed.

“So, either everybody or no
one (would have been affected).”

Benaissa was diagnosed when she was
17 during a routine screening after she became pregnant.

The singer became famous in 2000
when No Angels won the talent show Popstars.

As a group they have now sold more
than five million singles making them the German equivalent of Girls Aloud.

She was arrested in 2009 just
before she was about to appear on stage for a concert in Frankfurt and was held
in custody for 10 days.

The trial is expected to end later
this month.

WORLDNoAngeltrialSTORY

Nadja Benaissa waits for the start of her trial in the Darmstadt courthouse on Monday.
Photo: CNN
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