The Botswana Prison Service has observed with concern recent reports by a number of local private media houses, that there are “HIV positive foreign prisoners left to die” in Botswana Prisons. To mention but a few, The Telegraph newspaper of the 15th July 2011 and Mmegi newspaper of the 26th July 2011 reported Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), legal adviser, Dikeledi Dingake as saying” they have six cases of HIV positive foreign prisoners some of them terminally ill and left to die from Gaborone prison and that the situation around the country could be worse”.
The purpose of this communication is to set the record straight that there are no “cases of HIV positive foreign prisoners some of them terminally ill and left to die” as reported. It is also worth noting that in the event of any prisoner being declared terminally ill by competent authorities, the Prisons Act (Cap: 21:03), provides procedures and processes to be followed regarding the handling of such a prisoner, without regard to his/her nationality.
The Prison Service would like to assure the public that, health monitoring and treatment of prisoners is done in accordance with policies and procedures of the Government of Botswana.
Finally, we call upon the respective media houses in the strongest terms possible, to always verify the facts before publishing misleading information which may cause undue anxiety to inmates themselves, their families and the nation at large.
Commissioner, Botswana Prison Service