20 January 2015
Foreign prisoners in Botswana with HIV/Aids will have to wait longer before they receive free antiretroviral medication from government.
The country’s government has appealed a ruling by high court Justice Bengbame Sechele that it should provide free medication to foreigners living in Botswana.
The case has not been included on the roll of the Court of Appeal, which is currently in session in Gaborone. The court’s next session is in the middle of the year.
Tshiamo Rantao, who represented the two Zimbabwean prisoners, Dickson Tapela and Mbuso Piye, who took government to court, said the case was likely to be heard during the year.
In August, the Botswana High Court ruled that the government should provide free treatment to HIV-positive prisoners, as it did the same with local inmates.
In its ruling, the court highlighted the importance of ensuring that all prisoners had access to ARV treatment, not only for their own health, but also to protect other prisoners from getting HIV and other opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.
The court rejected the government’s argument that it did not have enough money to provide non-citizen prisoners with ARV treatment, holding that it had not provided evidence to support this contention.