Singapore—A judge in the United States has ordered Mikhy Farrera Brochez, the controversial figure at the center of the country’s HIV registry data leak, to immediately hand over all the copies of confidential data in his possession that he obtained from Singapore’s Government.
Mr Brochez was given until March 29 to comply with these orders and to certify that they have been done. Should he refuse or fail to do so, he could be held in contempt of court, be made to pay a fine, or serve jail time.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has sought a preliminary injunction against Mr Brochez. Last month the MOH filed a civil lawsuit against Mr Brochez in a federal court in Kentucky in order to prevent him from leaking the sensitive data even further.
US District Judge Danny Reeves also ordered Mr Brochez to delete every social media post which talks about the data leak or has references to confidential information from the MOH.
Mr Brochez has been forbidden from posting any other posts of the same nature.
The people to whom he sent the data are also forbidden from making such posts.
A temporary restraining order is already in place banning Mr Brochez from leaking the confidential information, but this latest injunction actually requires that posts be deleted and information spread online removed.
The judge said he believed Mr Brochez may keep on spreading the confidential information had the preliminary injunction not been granted. In the written grounds for his decision, the judge said, “The defendant has indicated in a Facebook post that he feels ‘wronged’ by the Government of Singapore and has repeatedly threatened to disseminate the information if his husband is not released from custody.”
Judge Reeves added that he believes the MOH will most likely be successful in proving that Mr Brochez committed an invasion of privacy under Kentucky law.
Since Mr Brochez had revealed confidential information to the media, the judge said: “Farrera Brochez has shown that he is willing and capable of giving unreasonable publicity to another’s private life.”
The MOH argued that the Singaporeans who would be affected by the HIV-data leak would suffer from irreparable harm through the leak of the information to the public. It also said that the reputation of the Ministry would also be negatively affected.
Judge Reeves agreed with these arguments.
Mr Brochez is facing four federal criminal charges that are related to the unlawful possession of identification documents and attempted extortion. A grand jury will decide whether or not Mr Brochez’ case will go to trial.
The US citizen was also scheduled to appear before the court on March 4 on a separate charge of trespassing, but this will be delayed until July, since Mr Brochez remains detained until the conclusion of his Federal criminal case.
The public first learned about the data leak in January. Mr Brochez was in possession of the confidential information of 14,200 people in the country who have HIV, which included the patients’ names, contact information, and medical data.
The US national, who is also HIV positive, illegally used a blood sample from his partner, Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang, in order to work in the country. Dr Ler, who had been the chief of MOH’s National Public Health Unit from 2012 May 2013, had access to the official HIV registry during that time.
Mr Brochez was convicted on fraud and drug-related offences and then deported back to the US in April 2018 after serving a jail sentence. He has since been living in America.
As for Dr Ler, whom Mr Brochez married in the US in 2014, he remains incarcerated since 2016 for having helped Mr Brochez provide false information to Singaporean officials. The doctor has appealed against his conviction, however.