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Argentine Man, 24, Facing Up To 15 Years Imprisonment For Spreading Coronavirus At Party

Argentine Man, 24, Facing Up To 15 Years Imprisonment For Spreading Coronavirus At Party

If he's guilty of 'spreading a contagious or dangerous disease' he could face 15 years in jail

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

A man accused of spreading the Covid-19 virus in Argentina after attending a party in the USA could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of spreading a 'dangerous and contagious disease'.

Eric Torales, 24, is under house arrest after he reportedly refused to obey self-isolation rules in Argentina and went to a friend's 15th birthday party despite recently returning from the USA.

The party took place in the town of Moreno, near the capital city Buenos Aires. Eleven people are reported to have been infected after attending, according to Argentinian publication Todo Noticas.

Just one day before he defied the quarantine to attend the party, the government of Argentina imposed a law which means those returning from other countries are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Police officers attend the scene.

Another 15 guests are reportedly under study to determine if they have the disease. The authorities are also seeking anyone who met with Torales after his return to the South American country on 13 March.

Torales fell ill and was tested positively for Covid-19 five days after attending the party. Around 100 people attended the event.

If he is found guilty of spreading a contagious or dangerous disease under article 202 of the Argentinian criminal code, he could face a jail sentence of between three and 15 years.

Torales has been placed under house arrest and forced to give up his passport since he was discharged from hospital last Wednesday (25 March). He may only leave the house to attend medical appointments.

Calling for an inquiry into Torales' case, federal prosecutor Santiago Marquevich said (as reported Crónica): "The day after his return to the country and despite the provisions established in the decree of necessity and urgency number 260/2020, issued on March 12, 2020 by the President of the Argentine Nation, which compelled him to remain at his home for a term of 14 days, the accused decided to go to the event."

So far, 690 positive cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Argentina, with 17 deaths.

A few weeks back, when the laws regarding enforced quarantine were passed, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said: "I'm going to be inflexible on this, anyone who has to be in quarantine is going to follow it, and if they don't, we're going to pursue them criminally."

Eric Torales.

As for the 15 year potential sentence, multinational law firm Baker McKenzie's website reads: "From a criminal standpoint, sections 202, 203 and 205 from the Argentine Criminal Code establish diverse sentences that can go up to 15 years of imprisonment for any individual who propagates dangerous and/or contagious diseases for people."

If he is found guilty to a lesser extent, he could face a six month to two year sentence, or a hefty fine.

Featured Image Credit: Crónica

Topics: World News