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29 April 2015

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 HIGH COURT DISMISSES INTERIM APPLICATIONS ON FOREIGN PRISONERS ARV CASE

Gaborone–On Wednesday, 29 April 2015, the High Court dismissed two applications relating to an August 2014 order of the High Court, currently on appeal, compelling the government to provide foreign prisoners with ARVs.

Seven months after the High Court’s order to provide ARVs, the Attorney General had brought an urgent application to stop it being enforced after a third-party foreign prisoner tried to enforce the order. In response, the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) made an application to hold the Government in contempt of the August 2014 order.

The High Court dismissed both applications on the basis that neither were urgent. While the Court acknowledged that the Government admitted to having failed to implement the order to provide ARVs, it declined to consider the substance of the case because neither, it held, was urgent.

“The judgments mean that the order to provide ARVs to foreign prisoners still stands and the State is obliged to enforce it,” said Cindy Kelemi, Executive Director of BONELA. “We are nevertheless disappointed that the Court did not appreciate the urgency of the threat to the lives and wellbeing of prisoners, both foreign and local, for every day that the State fails to provide ARVs without discrimination.”

“The rule of law demands that the State immediately enforce the order to provide ARVs to all foreign prisoners who meet the treatment threshold. Failing to treat this group of prisoners is a threat to public health,” said Annabel Raw, Health Rights Lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre which is supporting BONELA’s case.

For more information:

Cindy Kelemi, Director, BONELA: +267 393 2516 (o); +267 72385054 (m); This e-mail 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 (o); +28 82 349 5825; This e-mail 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/

 

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