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HIV+ Man Mounts Court Challenge Seeking ARV Provision for Inmates

A Zimbabwean man on Friday filed a constitutional application seeking an order compelling police and prison officers to avail anti-retroviral drugs to detainees living with HIV-AIDS.

Harare resident Douglas Muzanenhano, who has been living with HIV for the past 18 years, said his health condition deteriorated rapidly with his CD4 count falling from 8,000 to 579 when he was detained for a lenghty period and denied medication by the police and prison officers.

The respondents are Harare Central Police, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Co-Ministers of Home Affairs Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai Zimondi.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which is representing Muzanenhamo said the police action to deny him access to ARVs contravenes Section 12 of the Zimbabwe Constitution.

ZLHR director Irene Petras told journalists Friday that police and prisons officials had endangered Muzanenhamo’s life by denying him access to ARVs.

She urged the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons Service to safeguard citizens’ right to life.

Muzanenhamo was arrested while attending a meeting to commemorate the death of an HIV-AIDS activist, Navigator Mungoni.

Police claimed that Muzanenamo and his 44 colleagues, including University of Zimbabwe lecturer Munyaradzi Gwisai, were plotting to topple President Mugabe using Egyptian-style revolts that ousted long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders.