Prisoners’ Rights

SALC’s Prisoner Rights work is integrated within its other programmatic areas and focuses on the following objectives:

  • To challenging the constitutionality of minor petty offences through law reform, advocacy and litigation.
  • To improve access to health care services and recognition of the health needs of all prisoners.
  • To improve prison conditions and reduce overcrowding in prisons.
  • To support challenges to the death penalty.
  • To develop jurisprudence on the rights of military detainees.
  • To challenge police arrest practices, including sweeping exercises.

On-going cases:

Zambia: Case challenging prison conditions and provision of adequate food for prisoners with HIV.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the begging and begging with deformities offences. Updates coming soon.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of soliciting for an immoral purpose. Updates coming soon.
Malawi: Case relating to the right to legal representation. Updates coming soon.
Zambia: Challenging the Mental Disorders Act, including provisions relating to detention.

Precedent cases:

Malawi: Case challenging the imprisonment of children
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of being a rogue and vagabond.
Malawi: Challenging refusal to grant bail for terminally ill remandees.
Lesotho: Application for access to healthcare for military detainee.
Malawi: Case challenging unmet palliative care in detention.
Botswana: Challenging the refusal to provide antiretrovirals to foreign prisoners.
Malawi: Challenging sentencing practices which result in the incarceration of children with their caregivers.
Malawi: Discriminatory sentencing of persons with albinism.
Swaziland: Appealing the refusal to grant bail for persons charged under sedition and terrorism laws.
Lesotho: Seeking open arrest for military detainees subjected to torture.
Malawi: Challenging police arrest practices which unlawfully target sex workers.


22 Feb 2019 Staff Writer
Media Advisory: Malawi High Court to Determine Constitutionality of Sweeping Exe...

Blantyre, Malawi – On Monday, the Malawi High Court, Judge Zione Ntaba, will hear a case in which the Applicants are challenging the police practice of conducting arbitrary mass arrests under the guise of crime prevention. The case is supported…

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13 Feb 2019 Staff Writer
News Release: Children released from Malawi prison...

13 February 2019, Blantyre, Malawi – Following a Malawi High Court order in June 2018, Bvumbwe and Kachere Prisons have now responded to the order to release children from prison. The civil society organisations which brought the court application for…

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30 Jan 2019 Staff Writer
Media Advisory: Malawi High Court to decide on interim order preventing detentio...

Zomba, Malawi – On Wednesday 30 January 2019, the Malawi High Court, will hear argument on an interim application to prevent prisoners with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) from being returned to prison. In October 2018, the Zomba High Court granted six…

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16 Oct 2018 Annabel Raw
#WFD2018 Stop the Torture by Starvation in Malawi’s Prisons...

By Victor Mhango and Annabel Raw On this World Food Day, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) call for radical and urgent reform of the prison system to stop…

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12 Oct 2018 Staff Writer

ZOMBA – The Malawi High Court yesterday granted an urgent interim injunction preventing the return of six persons diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to prison. Between August and September, six inmates from Maula and Mzimba Prisons were diagnosed with…

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17 Aug 2018 Staff Writer
Malawi: Inequality and the myth of the right to legal representation...

On 8 August 2018, the Malawi High Court in Blantyre heard a constitutional application relating to the case of State v Willias Daudi. Mr Daudi had been convicted of robbery after a full trial. At the time of his trial,…

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