Kathmandu, Dec 10
Amnesty International Nepal has launched a new local campaign demanding the authorities launch an independent and impartial investigation into what it called all incidents of custodial deaths.
This is part of the AI Nepal’s annual ‘Write for Rights’ campaign, where Amnesty’s members and supporters across the globe write letters and sign petitions demanding protection of human rights for individuals and communities whose rights have either been violated or face the threat of violation. Through this campaign, Amnesty Nepal will be calling upon Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and all other concerned agencies to launch a set of actions designed to ensure there’s a fair investigation into all incidents of custodial deaths and those guilty of inflicting torture and causing subsequent deaths of detainees are held accountable. It said in the last six months alone, there have been at least six reported incidents of custodial deaths as per media reports.
Neither the Nepal Police nor the Office of the Attorney General has maintained a record of such deaths. “On 10 June, 23-year-old Shambu Sada Musahar was found dead inside the detention room at an Area Police Office in Dhanusha district. Police said he died due to kidney failure. His family dispute this and say he was tortured to death. On 22 July, 24-year-old Raj Kumar Chepang died after allegedly being beaten up by a security personnel stationed inside the Chitwan National Park. On 26 August, 19-year-old Bijay Ram Mahara, a resident of Rautahat, who had been arrested on murder charges died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Birgunj.
His family too believe he was tortured,” the AI Nepal stated in a press release. The rising cases of reported custodial deaths is a cause for great concern and is emblematic of the flaws in Nepal’s criminal justice system that compromises the rights of detainees, particularly those belonging to marginalized groups, said Nirajan Thapaliya, Director of Amnesty International Nepal. According to AI Nepal, despite the criminalization of torture in Nepal by the new Country Criminal Code 2017, researches have shown that the practice of torture continues to prevail.
As per the existing law, any person found guilty of inflicting torture shall be punished with five years of imprisonment or fine up to 50,000 rupees or both. However, no individual has been prosecuted under this law till date.