11 June 2014
The Botswana government on Wednesday revealed in court that it was refusing to provide anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to foreign inmates because they have themselves to blame for having contracted the virus.Through advocacy group BONELA, foreign inmates in Botswana’s prisons are challenging the Gaborone authorities’ refusal to provide ARV treatment to their HIV-positive colleagues.
State lawyer David Moloise said told the Gaborone High Court that the inmates have, in the first place, deprived themselves of the right to life by contracting the AIDS virus.
He also rejected the argument that the government was depriving the prisoners of the right to life by preventing them from accessing AIDS drugs.
BONELA lawyer Gilbert Marcus said a 2004 presidential directive that excludes HIV-positive foreign inmates from receiving ARVs was unlawful and unconstitutional.
He told the court that the directive, issued by then President Festus Mogae, was against rights enshrined in the constitution, such as the right to life and the right to protection against inhumane treatment and discrimination.
Judge Bengbame Sechele reserved judgment.