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South Africa's 'worst rapist' hangs himself before trial




 

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A man suspected of being South Africa's worst known serial rapist has been found dead in his prison cell hours before he was to go trial on charges that included sexually assaulting 34 children, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Sifiso Makhubo, 42, was facing a total of 122 charges for murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder by infecting his victims with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

He was thought to have hanged himself with a blanket in his prison cell and authorities were investigating the circumstances of his death.

The horrific nature and breadth of the crimes shocked South Africa, a country inured to some of the world's highest levels of sexual violence.

In the year to April 2012, more than 64,000 sexual offences, including rape, were reported among South Africa's 50 million people. Of these, more than 25,000 were assaults on children.

In 2010, South Africa recorded 132.4 cases of reported rape per 100,000 population, by far the highest among countries that reported statistics to the United Nations, compared to 27.3 in the United States or 2.1 in Uganda. Reporting rates and definitions of rape do, however, vary sharply from country to country.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



 


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Information in this article was accurate in July 25, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.