26 August 2015
Government has lost an appeal in which they were challenging the high court ruling which ordered them to provide foreign inmates with ARVs, as they said the practice was in accordance with the Prisons’ Act and Regulations.
The matter has been before the courts for over a year now and in August last year the High Court in Gaborone ruled in favour of Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).
Justice Bengbame Sechele had ordered that government should enroll HIV positive inmates on Highly Active Retroviral Treatment (HAART).
He held that the policy violated the Prisons Act, the common law and the prisoners’ constitutional rights to life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, and to equality.
Sechele ordered that all HIV-positive foreign prisoners who met the treatment criteria be provided with the ARVs.
The Attorney General then filed a notice of appeal and still did not comply with the High Court order, arguing that the State was not legally obliged to provide the treatment at its own expense and that it was financially constrained to do so.
“We are happy with the judgement because the highest court in the land which is the Court of Appeal has endorsed the high court ruling. Justice has been granted to foreign inmates and there is no way out for the government, whats left now if for them to comply because this judgement is binding,” said attorney Tshiamo Rantao who was representing BONELA in the matter.
Government was further ordered to pay all the legal costs for case.