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Media Advisory: High Court to Decide Whether Foreign Prisoners Get HIV Treatment

By 21 August 2014February 1st, 2023Criminal Justice Prison Reform, Equality Rights Health2 min read

Gaborone–On Friday 22 August 2014, the Botswana High Court will deliver judgment in a case challenging the government’s refusal to provide anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to foreign prisoners.

Two foreign, HIV-positive prisoners and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) argued in Court that the government’s policy of denying ARV treatment to foreign prisoners living with HIV is unlawful, unconstitutional and irrational and violates the prisoners’ rights to life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment and discrimination and equality.

The government raised procedural complaints against the application and argued that it is under no legal obligation to provide ARV treatment to foreign inmates.

What:              The Botswana High Court will deliver judgment in Tapela and Others v the Attorney-General and Others, a case about the rights of foreign, HIV-positive prisoners to access HIV treatment.

Where:            High Court, Gaborone, Botswana

When:             09:30am, Friday 22 August

“This decision will make clear whether Botswana will continue to put foreign, HIV-positive prisoners at great risk of dying by denying them ARV treatment or whether Botswana will ensure that all foreign prisoners living with HIV have access to the life-saving drugs,” said Cindy Kelemi, Executive Director of BONELA, a party to the case.

“The outcome of this case will have far-reaching consequences for all foreign prisoners in Botswana living with HIV. The case will determine whether foreign prisoners with HIV will be given life-saving treatment or be left with little means of obtaining the necessary medication, putting their lives at risk,” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which is providing assistance in the matter.

For more information:

Cindy Kelemi, Director, BONELA: +267 393 2516 (o); +267 7238 5054 (m);

Priti Patel, Deputy Director, SALC: +27 (0)10 596 8538 (o); +27 76 808 0505 (m);

Annabel Raw, HIV/AIDS Project Lawyer, SALC: +27 (0)10 596 8538; +27 82 349 5825 (m);

For live updates from the Court: @Follow_SALC; #BONELA

For background on the case:



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