Allegations of torture and arbitrary detention/ Risk of impunity
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests yourURGENT intervention in the following situation in Nepal.
Brief description of the situation
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Advocacy Forum (AF), a member organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the alleged torture and arbitrary detention of Mr. Rabi Shrestha, a 29-year-old permanent resident of Sindhupalchowk district, Thaplangkoti VDC-3 and Mr. Dudhraj Tamang, a 28-year-old permanent resident of Chapakhori VDC-4 Kavre district (both temporarily living in Nakhipot, Lalitpur district).
According to the information received, Mr. Dudhraj Tamang was arrested on 12 August 2013 from Jorpati in Kathmandu by plainclothes policemen and was taken to his apartment in Nakhipot. The policemen searched the place in connection with a gold theft case but reportedly did not find any illegal items. He was then brought along with his roommate, Mr. Rabi Shrestha, to the Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD) Hanumandhoka, where they were detained on suspicion of involvement in a gold theft case. Both denied any wrongdoing.
On 13 August 2013, Mr. Dudhraj Tamang and Mr. Rabi Shrestha were presented to the District Administration Office Babar Mahal (which is a quasi-judicial body) and for the first time remanded for seven days under a charge under the Public Offence Act.
According to the same information received, Mr. Dudhraj Tamang and Mr. Rabi Shrestha were tortured under interrogation, notably by Police Inspector Manjil Mukarung. The police punched them with fists, kicked them with police boots, and slapped hard on every part of their bodies. The torture also included beating with bamboo sticks on the soles of their feet, standing on head and hands, standing on tables with hands up for long hours, looking into electric lights and being suspended with a stick through the knees. They were reportedly tortured for about eleven- twelve days in order to get a confession.
On 3 September 2013, Mr. Dudhraj Tamang and Mr. Rabi Shrestha were brought to the District Administration Office, in Kathmandu. They were asked to deposit NRs. 5000/- each and were then released. However, the police immediately re-arrested them and detained them illegally at Metropolitan Police Range (MPR), Hanumandhoka. They only received an arrest warrant and a detention letter on 6 September 2013, and were remanded on that same day on charges of abduction and hostage. The new complaint against them was reportedly filed on 5 September 2013, two days after they re-arrest. They are still detained at MPR. OMCT fears that they may be at risk of further torture and ill-treatment.
The International Secretariat of OMCT urges the competent authorities to guarantee the safety and physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rabi Shrestha and Mr. Dudhraj Tamang at all times, notably by putting in place adequate protection measures for them and by suspending the police personnel believed to be responsible for the torture and ill-treatment, pending an investigation. OMCT further urges the competent authorities to carry out a prompt,effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment, in accordance with international human rights standards, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.
OMCT recalls that Article 11 of the Convention against Torture stipulates that “Each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment in any territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of torture”.
OMCT is also concerned about the circumstances of their arrest and detention, and urges the authorities to immediately release them in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, to bring them promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times, notably unconditional access to their lawyers.
In this regards, OMCT recalls article 15 of the Convention against Torture, which stipulates, “Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings (…)”.
Please write to the authorities in Nepal urging them to: i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rabi Shrestha and Mr. Dudhraj Tamang;ii. Order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;iii. Guarantee unconditional access to all members of their family and their lawyers;iv. Guarantee that they are examined by independent doctors and receive adequate medical care;v. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the aforementioned facts, notably the allegations of torture, in accordance with international human rights standards, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;vi. Guarantee that no evidence obtained under torture and ill-treatment, or threats thereof, be used in court proceedings against Mr. Rabi Shrestha and Mr. Dudhraj Tamang as stipulated in Article 15 of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;vii. Ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, including adequate compensation and rehabilitation, is granted to the victims concerned;viii. Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards, in particular ensure that all acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are clearly defined in law as offences in accordance with the provisions set out in Articles 1, 4 and 16 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and that they be made punishable with appropriate penalties which take into account the grave nature of the crimes as required (which is not the case under the 1996 Torture Compensation Act).
Addresses Ø Mr. Hkil Raj Regm, Chairperson of the Interim Council of Ministers Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Nepal, Singha Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977-1-4211286, Email: email@example.comØ Inspector General of Police, Police Head Quarters, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, PO. Box No.: 407, Fax: + 977 1 4 415 593, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgØ Attorney General, Mr Dron Raj Regmi, Office of Attorney General Ramshahpath, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 4262582, Email: email@example.com, info@firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com Ø Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Pulchowck, Lalitpur, Nepal; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com Fax: + 977 1 5547973Ø Permanent Mission of Nepal, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 4122 7332722, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the embassies of Nepal in your respective country.
Geneva, 16th September 2013
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.