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.


22 Jun 2018 Annabel Raw
Inhumane detention in Malawi, Part 1: The historical context...

In this 1st video of a 4-part series on inhumane detention in Malawi (produced by the Centre for Human Rights Educaiton, advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and SALC) the historical context of overcrowding and deteriorating conditions of imprisonment is explored. Part 2…

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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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23 Mar 2018 Annabel Raw

Brian Citro, Michaela Clayton, Colleen Daniels, Allan Maleche, Annabel Raw Bhekisisa, Mail & Guardian It's World TB Day. Here's why human rights and TB responses go hand in hand. When the police arrived in their village in Nandi County in…

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14 Dec 2017 Staff Writer
Zambia: Challenging the Mental Disorders Act of 1949...

SALC supported a petition by three persons with psychosocial disabilities and the Mental Health Users Network of Zambia (MHUNZA) to repeal the Mental Disorders Act of 1949 in Mwewa and Others v the Attorney General and Others. The Petitioners argued that the Act…

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06 Oct 2017 Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh
2015-2017 BIENNIAL REPORT...

SALC envisions a region in which domestic and regional courts are strong, independent, and fully functional and in which they uphold and enforce the rule of law and human rights. To that end, SALC works with domestic lawyers in each…

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24 Mar 2017 Staff Writer
A victory for the right to fair and substantial justice: Recent cases from the M...

All persons are entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right not to be discriminated against, harassed, or abused, and are fully entitled to fair treatment, due process of the law, and to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention. The High…

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