Religious couple sentenced to two and a half years in prison for denying children access to medicine

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A deeply religious couple in Neno will have to spend two and six years in prison for denying their children access to medical care due to religious beliefs that led to the children’s deaths.

The Neno Magistrate’s Court sentenced a member of the Apostolic Church, Ben Jekentala, and his wife to two years and six months in prison with hard labor for denying his children access to medicine.

Through Deputy Prosecutor Golden Kakoma, the court heard that on January 31, 2022, two children in the family fell ill and due to religious beliefs, their parents denied the children access to drugs, which led to the death of the children.

The case was reported to the police and postmotem revealed that the deaths were due to malaria.

The police arrested the parents, Ben Jekentala and his wife and subsequently brought them to justice.

Kakoma said Jekenta and his wife deserved a harsher sentence for the offense of harmful social practices and denying children access to medicine contrary to Sections 80 and 83 of the Child Care and Custody Act.

In pronouncing the judgment, Magret Khobili slapped them with two years and six months in prison with hard labor.

Ben Jekentala and his wife are from Galeta Village of Chekucheku Traditional Authority in Neno District.

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