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TB patients petition State for unlawful imprisonment

COUNTIES
By Rael Jelimo | July 27th 2015

Three TB patients in Nandi County are seeking compensation from the State for being unlawfully arrested and detained on accusations of "having severally defaulted" on their prescribed medication.

Daniel Ng'etich (45), Henry Ng'etich (48) and Patrick Kipng'etich Kirui (38) are petitioning the Attorney General and the Ministry of Health for being arrested and detained at the Kapsabet Prison for 46 days.

In High Court petition 329 of 2015, the three charged that they were arrested on August 12, 2010, by Public Health and Public Administration officials from their home in Mosobecho in Emgwen Constituency.

They say they were later taken to court and confined in prison.

"We were all arrested on accusations of defaulting on our medication and were taken to the Kapsabet court. The magistrate ordered the detainment of Daniel Ng'etich and Kirui at Kapsabet Prison for eight months," said Mr Kirui.

Mr Ng'etich, who was severely sick at the time of arrest, escaped imprisonment and was put under medication at the Kapsabet Hospital.

Executive Director of Kenya Ethical and Legal Issues Network (Kelin) Allan Maleche, who is representing the three, is seeking to challenge the widespread practice adopted by the public health office to confine TB patients for purposes of treatment.

"Kenyan prisons are overcrowded and poorly ventilated and conducive for the spread of TB, thus beating the purpose of detainment," said Mr Maleche.

The Kelin director further argued  that The Prison Act does not provide for isolation facilities for TB patients.

PROPER FOOD

The three patients told The Standard they were put in the same cells with hardcore criminals.

"On reaching the prison, we were put in a cell with 95 other people. Most were hardcore criminals and we wondered what crime we had committed to deserve this kind of punishment," lamented Ng'etich.

The three said they could not understand the purpose of detainment as they would go for two or more days without medication.

"Prison warders would forget to give us our medication. We would go for more than two days without medication," said Kirui.

Ng'etich and Kirui claim they were forced to go without proper food and clothing accorded to TB patients and were further tortured and forced to do hard labour like other prisoners.

The hearing of the petition is ongoing at the Milimani Law Courts.

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