22.07.2015: COURT OF APPEAL TO CONSIDER FOREIGN PRISONERS’ RIGHT TO HIV TREATMENT

22.07.2015: COURT OF APPEAL TO CONSIDER FOREIGN PRISONERS’ RIGHT TO HIV TREATMENT

Gaborone – On Thursday, 23 July 2015, the Botswana Court of Appeal will hear arguments in an appeal against a 2014 High Court judgment in which the government was ordered the provide HIV-positive foreign prisoners with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

       What:              The Botswana Court of Appeal will hear arguments in Attorney General and Others v Tapela and Others, a case concerning the rights of HIV-positive non-citizen prisoners to access ARVs.

Where:            Court of Appeal, Gaborone, Botswana

When:            09:30 am, Thursday, 23 July 2015

In August 2014, two foreign prisoners and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) succeeded in a High Court challenge against the government’s policy refusing to provide HIV-positive foreign prisoners with ARVs. The High Court held that the policy violated the Prisons Act, the common law and the prisoners’ constitutional rights to life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, and to equality. It ordered that all HIV-positive foreign prisoners who meet the treatment criteria be provided with ARVs.

The State parties appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. The government appellants argue that the State is not legally obliged to provide the treatment at State expense and that budgetary policy considerations underlie the refusal. BONELA persists in its arguments that the government is legally and constitutionally obliged to provide ARV treatment to all HIV-positive prisoners who meet the treatment criteria. BONELA argues that denying the prisoners’ rights goes against public health interests.

BONELA is represented by Advocate Gilbert Marcus SC, Advocate Isabel Goodman and Tshiamo Rantao of Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys.

For more information:

Cindy Kelemi, Director, BONELA: +267 393 2516 (o); +267 72385054 (m); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Annabel Raw, HIV/AIDS Project Lawyer, SALC: +27 (0)10 596 8538; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For background on the case: http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/cases/ongoing-cases/botswana-securing-access-to-hiv-treatment-for-prisoners/

For Twitter updates: #BONELA


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