Prisoners’ Rights

SALC’s Prisoner Rights work is integrated within its other programmatic areas and focuses on the following objectives:

  • To challenging the constitutionality of minor petty offences through law reform, advocacy and litigation.
  • To improve access to health care services and recognition of the health needs of all prisoners.
  • To improve prison conditions and reduce overcrowding in prisons.
  • To support challenges to the death penalty.
  • To develop jurisprudence on the rights of military detainees.
  • To challenge police arrest practices, including sweeping exercises.

On-going cases:

Zambia: Case challenging prison conditions and provision of adequate food for prisoners with HIV.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the begging and begging with deformities offences. Updates coming soon.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of soliciting for an immoral purpose. Updates coming soon.
Malawi: Case relating to the right to legal representation. Updates coming soon.
Zambia: Challenging the Mental Disorders Act, including provisions relating to detention.

Precedent cases:

Malawi: Case challenging the imprisonment of children
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of being a rogue and vagabond.
Malawi: Challenging refusal to grant bail for terminally ill remandees.
Lesotho: Application for access to healthcare for military detainee.
Malawi: Case challenging unmet palliative care in detention.
Botswana: Challenging the refusal to provide antiretrovirals to foreign prisoners.
Malawi: Challenging sentencing practices which result in the incarceration of children with their caregivers.
Malawi: Discriminatory sentencing of persons with albinism.
Swaziland: Appealing the refusal to grant bail for persons charged under sedition and terrorism laws.
Lesotho: Seeking open arrest for military detainees subjected to torture.
Malawi: Challenging police arrest practices which unlawfully target sex workers.


16 Oct 2018 Annabel Raw
#WFD2018 Stop the Torture by Starvation in Malawi’s Prisons...

By Victor Mhango and Annabel Raw On this World Food Day, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) call for radical and urgent reform of the prison system to stop…

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12 Oct 2018 Staff Writer

ZOMBA – The Malawi High Court yesterday granted an urgent interim injunction preventing the return of six persons diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to prison. Between August and September, six inmates from Maula and Mzimba Prisons were diagnosed with…

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17 Aug 2018 Staff Writer
Malawi: Inequality and the myth of the right to legal representation...

On 8 August 2018, the Malawi High Court in Blantyre heard a constitutional application relating to the case of State v Willias Daudi. Mr Daudi had been convicted of robbery after a full trial. At the time of his trial,…

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31 Jul 2018 Staff Writer
SALC STATEMENT: Mozambique detains three asylum seekers unlawfully for more than...

SALC is concerned about the prolonged unlawful detention of three asylum seekers in Chimoio, the capital city of Manica province in central Mozambique. Despite alerting the authorities including the Instituto Nacional de Apoio ao Refugiado (INAR) and the United Nations…

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16 Jul 2018 Annabel Raw
Inhumane detention in Malawi – Video Series part 4...

Part 4: The call for change See the final part of the video series (produced by the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and SALC) on Inhumane Detention in Malawi. In this video, activists, judges, lawyers and former prisoners…

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06 Jun 2018 Anneke Meerkotter
Malawi: Challenging the imprisonment of children...

This case was brought by civil society organisations who are concerned that the conditions in Bvumbwe and Kachere prisons are deplorable and not in the best interests of children who are in conflict with the law. Currently a number of…

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