SALC is supporting the constitutional challenge of Section 30 and 32(a)(vii) of the Sexual offences Act, which provides for mandatory HIV testing of an accused person upon being charged with the offence and imposes a mandatory death sentence upon conviction pursuant to an HIV positive test.
The applicant argues that mandatory testing and imposition of a mandatory death sentence solely because of a person’s HIV status violate the constitutional rights to life, equality and non-discrimination, privacy and dignity and contribute to stigma against PLWH.
The constitutional application was heard before a panel of judges on 24 May 2021. On 25 October 2022, The High Court of Lesotho issued its judgement and declared section 32(a)(vii) of the Sexual offences Act as unconstitutional to the extent that it imposes a death sentence solely on the basis of a person’s HIV status, as it amounted to discrimination and inhumane treatment. The Court stated that people convicted of sexual offences should be sentenced according to mitigating or aggravating circumstances rather than HIV status alone, and that thw law should be interpreted so as not to require a mandatory death sentence for a person living with HIV.
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