Botswana: Court rules in favour of HIV/AIDS positive prisoners

Gaborone, Botswana (PANA) – Botswana’s Court of Appeal has ruled that foreign prisoners should get Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) after government appealed a High Court judgment that said otherwise.

The ruling, made on Wednesday here, comes after two HIV positive prisoners took government to court demanding access to HIV/AIDS treatment despite being non-citizens of Botswana.

Botswana has been denying non-citizen prisoners the life-saving treatment on the basis of citizenship.

The international and local civil societies have applauded the court ruling.

“The denial of life-saving treatment to prisoners solely on the basis of their citizenship flies in the face of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Botswana Constitution and by Botswana’s legal obligations under international and regional law,” said Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) deputy director, Priti Patel.

SALC has been assisting local civil society Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) in a legal fight on behalf of foreign inmates afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

“Refusing to treat foreign prisoners is irresponsible because without HIV treatment not only will prisoners’ lives be at risk, it will also place other prisoners at risk of HIV and other opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis,” said BONELA chairperson, Tshiamo Rantao.
-0- PANA DRW/VAO 26Aug2015

26 Agosto 2015 14:55:24

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