Criminal Justice

SALC’s Criminal Justice 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.

Current cases:

Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the begging and begging with deformities offences.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of offence criminalising poverty, and police mass arrest practices.
Malawi: Case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of soliciting for an immoral purpose. 
Zambia: Challenging the Mental Disorders Act, including provisions relating to detention.
Nigeria: Challenging police arrest practices.
Nigeria: Challenging police arrest practices.

Completed cases:

Malawi: Case challenging the imprisonment of children.
Zambia: Case challenging prison conditions and provision of adequate food for prisoners with HIV.
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.
Lesotho: Challenging police torture.
Malawi: Asserting the right to legal representation.
Malawi: Challenging the use of common nuisance offence.

18 Mar 2020 Staff Writer
Joint Statement: CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS CALL FOR THE URGENT DECONGESTION OF...

With the COVID-19 pandemic having been declared a global emergency, the is an urgent need to address the high levels of congestion in Malawi prisons. The Malawi Government has appointed a Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus effective 7 March 2020,…

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15 Jan 2020 Anneke Meerkotter
SALC JOURNAL ARTICLE: LITIGATING TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF POOR AND MARGINALISED ...

PUBLISHED IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI LAW REVIEW CAVEAT Anneke Meerkotter 74 U. Miami L. Rev. Caveat 1 (2020). Abstract For centuries, and across the world, penal laws have been used to regulate urban spaces, with a cruel focus on…

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20 Dec 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
NIGERIA COURT ORDERS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO UPHOLD SEX WORKERS’ RIGHTS...

20 December 2019, Abuja – On 18 December 2019, the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja Division, per Justice Nyako, handed down an important judgment on sex workers’ rights to due process at the hands of law enforcement agencies, in…

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20 Dec 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
Nigeria: Challenge to arbitrary arrest of women during sweeping exercises...

Factual Background At 11pm on 22 February 2017, the Joint Task Force broke down the doors of the homes of the applicants, assaulted them, indecently searched them, took the money they had on them, and then arrested and detained them.…

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16 Dec 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
NEWS: ZAMBIA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS PRISONERS’ RIGHTS TO FOOD AND IMPROVED PRIS...

Lusaka, 16 December 2019 – The Supreme Court of Zambia on 9 December 2019 handed down an important judgment on prisoners’ rights. The case was brought by two prisoners with HIV on antiretroviral treatment, who sought access to a balanced…

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16 Dec 2019 Staff Writer
Zambia: Health Rights of HIV-Positive Prisoners...

SALC is working with the Legal Resources Foundation in Zambia to secure the rights of HIV-positive prisoners to treatment, adequate food and improvements to prison conditions. The applicant inmates alleged that they only get two meals a day which makes…

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16 Aug 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
ESWATINI: SEX WORKERS & THE LAW...

The Rights4All Project, as part of its My Body My Rights Campaign, has produced leaflets on the laws which can be used by sex workers to assert their rights.   See detailed pamphlet here See summary pamphlet here

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22 Jul 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
Sedition charges impact on freedom of expression in Eswatini...

Opinion Piece first published on 22 July 2019 on Polity.org.za In May 2019 a lone activist, Goodwill Sibiya, sought to file an application before the civil courts in Eswatini. In the application, apparently drafted without legal representation, the applicant sought to remedy…

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21 May 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
Malawi: Asserting the right to legal representation...

Factual Background Mr D had been convicted of robbery after a full trial. At the time of his trial, however, he was not informed of his right to legal representation, and he further did not benefit from the offer of…

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21 May 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
Nigeria: Challenge to arbitrary arrest of women during sweeping exercises...

Factual Background The applicants were among 71 women who were arrested at various public spaces in Abuja between 17 and 26 April 2019. The arrests were carried out by the FCTA Joint Task Team comprising the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Securities…

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13 May 2019 Anneke Meerkotter
NEWS RELEASE: MALAWI HIGH COURT URGES THE DEVELOPMENT OF GUIDELINES FOR MAGISTRA...

Blantyre, Malawi – On Monday 13 May 2019, a 3-judge bench of the High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court, handed down judgment in the case of State v Willias Daudi. On 8 August 2018, the Malawi High Court in…

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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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