Allegations of torture to death in police custody/ Risk of Impunity
The InternationalSecretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENTintervention in the following situation in Nepal.
Brief description of the situation
The InternationalSecretariat of OMCT has been informed byAdvocacy Forum (AF), a member organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, aboutthe alleged torture and killing in police custody of Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi, a 30-year-old permanentresident of Asuraina VDC-06, Parshawa Village, Rupandehi district.
According to the information received, on the 12th ofAugust 2013, Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi went to a local liqueur shop, near to Area PoliceOffice (APO), Marchbar, and spent some time there. Around 2 pm, he went toanother liquor shop where, as stated by some witnesses to the family, he had adiscussion with several policemen who arrested him subsequently. The policelater denied holding Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi.
In the morning of the 13th of August2013, Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi was found dead in a paddy field about 500 meter northfrom APO, Marchbar, Rupandehi district. At around 5.40 am, local residents foundMr. Ram Sewak Dhobi’s dead body drown up-to neck and the face covered with aplastic. Consequently they informed Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi’s family members and thepolice. Family members and local villagers stated that his chest was coveredwith blue marks that looked like marks of boots and sticks, he had a bluemarked and swollen throat, blue marks turned into black on both armpits werenoticeable, the right eye was fully damaged, blood oozed out from mouth, ears,nose and eye, and marks of rope on wrists and legs were visible. His familyattributes these bruises to police torture.
According to witnesses present at the scene, thepolice did not conduct an investigation of the incident place; neither did theytake the dead body for post-mortem. On the contrary, they reportedly forced thefamily members and villagers to cremate the body by burning, although accordingto the village’s custom, unmarried people are buried. The police allegedlyprovided cutting wood machines and axes to cut a tree nearby and later on 13thof August, the family and local villagers cremated the body. According to thepolice, the family did not want to keep any record of the case because theysaid Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi was a drunkard and might have died due to drowning.
The same evening, two policemen reportedly visitedMr. Ram Sewak Dhobi’s family’s house and asked his family members to sign a documentwithout reading it. When they refused to sign the paper, the policemen allegedlythreatened them.
On the 25th of August 2013, localpeople visited the APO, Marchbar demanding an independent investigation into thecase and action against the perpetrators but the police reportedly charged andshoot rubber bullets and tear gas at them. Nine people were injured during theincident.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned about thecircumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi and calls upon thecompetent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independentand impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events, notably theallegations of torture and death in custody, in accordance with internationalhuman rights standards, such as the UN Principle on the Effective Preventionand Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, the resultof which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before acompetent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/oradministrative sanctions as provided by law.
OMCT also expresses its concern over the threats received by Mr. Ram SewakDhobi’s family members and urges the competent authorities to guarantee theirsafety at all times.
OMCT recalls that the authorities have to fulfil their obligations underinternational human rights law to protect the right to life and the right notto be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment orpunishment and to bringing to justice those responsible for violating theserights.
Please write to the authorities in Nepal urging them to:
i. Guarantee,in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi’s family;
ii. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independentand impartial investigation into the aforementionedfacts, in accordance with international human rights standards, the result of which must be made public,in orderto bring those responsiblebefore a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civiland/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iii. Ensure that adequate, effective and promptreparation, including adequate compensation, is granted to Mr. Ram Sewak Dhobi’s family;
iv. Ensurethe respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country inaccordance with national laws and international human rights standards, inparticular ensure that all acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degradingtreatment and punishment are clearly defined in law as offences in accordancewith the provisions set out in Articles 1, 4 and 16 of the Convention againstTorture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and thatthey be made punishable with appropriate penalties which take into account thegrave nature of the crimes as required (which is not the case under the 1996Torture Compensation Act).
Ø Mr. Hkil Raj Regm, Chairperson of the Interim Council of Ministers Office of the Prime Ministerand Council of Nepal, Singha Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977-1-4211286,Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ø Inspector General of Police,Police Head Quarters, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, PO. Box No.: 407, Fax: + 977 1 4415 593, Email: email@example.com
Ø Permanent Mission of Nepal, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41227332722, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pleasealso write to the embassies of Nepal in your respective country.
Geneva,4th September 2013
Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.