Nepal
16.08.02
Urgent Interventions

Nepal: reports of extrajudicial killings and torture

Case NPL 160802
Extra-judicial executions / Arbitrary arrests and detention / Torture

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Nepal.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source of the deteriorating human rights situation in Nepal, which is, amongst other things, characterised by increasingly frequent cases of extra-judicial executions and the use of torture upon detainees.

According to the information received, 42-year old Mr. Sonelal Mandal, a farmer from Mohanpur V.D.C.-9, Shivanagar Village, Sirha district was killed on August 2nd 2002, while walking with his friend, Mr. Arun Chaudhari, to Bhawnipur to buy supplies. On the way to Bhawnipur, three plainclothes policemen approached Mr. Mandal. Mr. Mandal reportedly suspected that they were members of the police and started to run away in an attempt to escape. Six policemen were hiding further away and when Mr. Mandal started running the police reportedly opened fire, shooting Mr. Mandal several times, including at close range. Eyewitnesses say they heard about 12 shots. The police then forced Dhaneshwhor Mandal and Suvancha from Bhawanipir, who were working in the field nearby, to carry the dead body up to the road, from where the police then took the body away on a private tractor. It is assumed that the body was taken to Lahan police station. The body has not since been handed over to the family for cremation. Concerning post mortems, it has been reported that the hospital receives a number of similar cases, at which time they are ordered to remove the bullets, stitch up the wounds and destroy the medical records. Mr. Mandal was allegedly suspected by the security forces of being an area commander of the Maoist uprising in Nepal, although locals from the village claim that Mr. Mandal was only a farmer. The inhabitants of Shivanagar village have not lodged any complaints regarding the incident, nor has Mr. Mandal’s family, out of fear of being suspected of being connected with the Maoist group themselves.

According to the information received, separately, three men - Mr. Ram “Volta” Prakash Yadhav from Kashaha V.D.C. 6, Mr. Birenda Yadav from Pokharia Kabilasi V.D.C. and Mr. Ram Sagar Swornakar from Ladniya, India - were killed by policemen on July 24th 2002. They were reportedly on their way to the Dhangadi Bazaar when they were arrested by plainclothes policemen. The three men were allegedly carrying 70,000 rupees, and have been suspected by the locals in the village of being involved in trafficking hashish for a few years. According to the report, during their arrest, one of the men pulled out a gun and aimed it towards a policeman. About a dozen other police gathered immediately and disarmed them and restrained their hands. The police also reportedly beat and punched the men during the arrest. Mr. Ram Prakash’s mother went to the police and requested that they release her son, but the policemen replied that she would first have to pay 7000 rupees in bail. Mrs. Ram Prakash went to get the money, but by the time she had returned her son had been transferred to the police station.

According to the report, the three men had their hands tied behind and their backs and were ordered to get on a truck. The truck then headed towards Dhangadi, but the police stopped the truck in Gahabar (the temple of the Devi Goddess), situated between Kashaha and Musarniya, near the main highway. Eyewitnesses claim that the three men were taken off the vehicle and told to run, and when they began running, the police opened fire at them. Two of them were shot dead near the temple and one of them was shot dead near a nearby maize field. After killing them the police asked the local people to load the bodies onto a tractor and the police then transported the bodies towards Lahan police station. The villagers claim that the three men were arrested under suspicion of being involved with the Maoist group, and not because they were trafficking drugs, however this remains to be confirmed.

According to the information received, the current situation in Nepal is also of grave concern due to allegations that the Nepalese police are detaining individuals arbitrarily and subjecting the victims to ill-treatment and torture while they are being held in custody.

According to information received, 25-year old Mr. Guddu Barma from Delhi, India, was in Kathmandu on business to purchase electronic goods. As a businessman, he had dealings with Padam Bahadur Misra and Min Bahadur Misra, who have both been accused of the murder of a member of the Royal Casino’s staff. Mr. Barma was arrested at 5pm on June 29th 2002, at the Maitidevi temple and was subsequently interrogated in connection with the murders. Mr. Barma was taken to Kamalpokhari Police Station where he was kept for one day before being transferred to Hanuman Dhoka Custody. While in custody Mr. Barma was reportedly subjected to torture: he was kicked and beaten with a plastic pipe and a wooden stick for 15-30 minutes per day for about 15 days by 3-4 policemen. Mr. Barma was accused of having provided the bullets that were used in the crime. Mr. Barma reportedly confessed due to the torture that he was being subjected to. Mr. Barma spoke to a lawyer on July 25th 2002, at which time he claimed that he had been beaten in front of the prosecutor, been denied medical attention in custody, and had not been provided with food during his detention. Mr. Barma filed a complaint to the Indian Embassy. Mr. Barma was taken to court 20 days after his arrest and remains in custody to this day.

According to the information received, 19-year old Mr. Shankar Karki, from Chuchure V.D.C.-5, Ramechhap who is now living in Chandol, Kathmandu for the past two years, was arrested by the police at 10 am on July 6th 2002. Mr. Karki was sleeping when the policemen entered his house and searched his room. Although the police did not find anything they took Mr. Karki to Hanuman Dhoka Custody for interrogation, having charged him with theft. The next day, Mr. Karki was reportedly forced to lie down while two policemen beat him with a wooden stick on the soles of his feet, arms, palms and back. The police also kicked him on his thighs and slapped his face. Mr. Karki was subjected to torture for about four hours per day for three days. The police repeatedly asked Mr. Kakri where he had stolen the goods from and to provide the names of the other people involved in the theft. Mr. Karki was taken to court 23 days after his arrest, and was only then allowed money with which to buy food, as he was being detained illegally prior to this (the police are supposed to present detainees before a court 24 hours after their arrest) and could therefore not qualify for the money for food rations. Although Mr.Karki bore visible signs of torture, the judge reportedly did not raise the question of how he had come by these injuries. Mr. Karki is still being arbitrarily detained.

According to the information received, 31-year old Mr. Krishana Prasad Kafle, a farmer from Bhumani V.D.C. –2., Nawalparasi District, was arrested at 8.30 pm on June 25th 2002, while having dinner at a hotel, reportedly on suspicion of being involved in trafficking girls. Mr. Kafle was taken to Krishana Nagar police station where he was later reportedly beaten by drunk policemen, who entered his cell while he was sleeping, between midnight and 1am. During his detention, Mr. Kafle was reportedly punched, slapped, beaten with a wooden stick and kicked on his buttocks, back, chest and thighs. He was also pulled by his hair and thrown into the cell walls, with the torture lasting between 5-30 minutes a day. Mr. Kafle was even beaten with a stick when he went to the toilet. After 22 days of detention in Krishana Nagar, Mr. Kafle was transferred to Hanuman Dhoka Custody. Mr. Kafle was reportedly taken to court 23 days after his arrest. The Judge ordered the police to take Mr. Kafle to the hospital for a medical check-up, but they ignored the order for several days. Mr. Kafle saw a lawyer on July 30th 2002, where he complained of chest pains, insomnia and giddiness. Mr. Kafle was released from court on bail amounting to 5,000 rupees.

According to the information received, 19-year old Mr. Kamal Thakuri, from Pokhara, who has lived in Sitapailéa, Kathmandu for seven years, was arrested at 10 am on July 5th 2002. Mr. Thakuri was accused of having stolen money, and was taken to Sankhu Police Station where he was kept for one day, during which time he was slapped and beaten with a wooden stick on the soles of his feet and on his back. The next day he was transferred to Hanuman Dhoka Custody, where three policemen beat Mr. Thakuri on his soles, palms and back with a plastic pipe, during interrogation concerning the stolen money. Mr. Thakuri was taken to court 14 days after his arrest and was thereafter given money for food. Mr. Thakuri remains in police custody.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation prevailing in Nepal, notably measures taken by the Nepalese authorities, such as the alleged use of torture and extra-judicial executions, combined with the apparent near-total impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of these acts. OMCT condemns these acts and calls upon the Nepalese authorities to ensure that they comply with their various international obligations, in order to prevent future abuses of these kinds, and ensure that the afore-mentioned victims or their families be awarded reparation.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Nepal urging them to:

i. guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Guddu Barma, Mr. Shankar Karki and Mr. Kamal Thakuri, who are still being detained;
ii. order the immediate release of the afore-mentioned detainees in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
iii. guarantee adequate reparation to the afore-mentioned victims of torture and the families of Mr. Sonelal Mandal, Mr. Ram Prakash, Mr. Birenda Yadav and Mr. Ram Sagar Swornakar;
iv. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of all of the killings, with the goal of identifying those responsible, bringing them before a competent and impartial civil tribunal and applying the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
v. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

Note: You may encounter difficulties with the fax numbers in Nepal, in which case please address you appeals to the Nepalese Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

· Rt Hon Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 227 286
· Hon Khum Bahadur Khadka, Home Affairs Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 241 942
· General Prajwal Shamsher Rana JBR, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 242 168
· Madan Prasad Aryal, Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 228 204
· Mr Pradeep Shamsher J B Rana, Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, GPO Box 407, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 1 415 593/415 594
· H.E. Dr. Shambhu Ram Simkhada, Ambassador to the United Nations, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Nepal, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 7332722; E-mail: mission.nepal@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the embassies of Nepal in your respective country.

Geneva, August 16th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts