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Hungarian home births champion to move from house arrest to jail

Posted: April 30, 2012 |   Comments

Saturday will be the 494th day of Dr Agnes Gereb'shouse arrest in Budapest. For the past 16 months, the midwife and internationally recognised home-birth expert has been confined to her home for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Officers arrive unannounced, at any hour of the day or night, to check that Gereb, 59, is home. If not, she can expect to return to the prison where she spent 77 days in 2010, accused of negligent malpractice after a woman went into early labour in her birthing centre.

In five days' time, Gereb will be taken back to prison after losing an appeal against her original sentence of two years' imprisonment (with a specification that she serve a minimum of a year) and five years' suspension from practising as either a doctor or midwife. The minimum time she must serve has been increased to 16 months and the ban doubled to 10 years.

Gereb's crime is to have spent the past 17 years quietly resisting Hungary's attempts to criminalise home births.

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