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.

26 May 2020 Staff Writer
SALC Policy Brief: A Legal Overview of the Impact of COVID-19 on Justice and Rig...

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, various countries in the Southern African region have put in place restrictions on gatherings, free movement, commerce and expression. Many of these measures limit human rights and result in criminal sanctions for breach. This…

Read More
20 May 2020 Staff Writer
Joint letter on immediate and urgent measures to protect the rights of prison de...

Non-governmental human rights organisations joined in writing a letter to President John Pombe Magufuli on immediate and urgent measures to protect the rights of prison detainees in Tanzania.

Read More
09 Apr 2020 Anneke Meerkotter
JOINT CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT CALLING FOR DECONGESTION OF MALAWI PRISONS AMID CO...

9 April 2020, Malawi - We the undersigned organisations commend His Excellency, The State President, Arthur Peter Mutharika for including prison decongestion as one of the measures to combat COVID-19 in Malawi. In his Presidential Address on 4 April 2020, the…

Read More
02 Apr 2020 Amanda Shivamba
Submission to the Report of the Secretary General on the Question of the Death P...

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner made a call to Non Governmental Organisations to receive any relevant information with regard to the question of the Death Penalty. Below is SALC's Submission. Introduction This submission was prepared by SALC.…

Read More
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,…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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.…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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

Read More
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…

Read More