U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1994/31 (1994)(Nigel Rodley, Special Rapporteur).


Information transmitted to the Government and replies received

404. By letter dated 26 August 1993 the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information according to which there had been several positive developments in the human rights situation in the country since 1989. These included the promulgation in 1990 of a new Constitution which prohibited torture and provided for compensation for torture victims, as well as the accession of Nepal to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Despite these positive changes, it was reported that torture in police custody was still being used, both as a means to obtain information or confessions or to punish prisoners held for political reasons. In addition to this, no official action had allegedly been taken to ensure independent and impartial investigations or to bring those responsible to justice. The individual cases described in the following paragraphs were transmitted to the Government.

405. Chaitu Lama, a supporter of the Communist Party of Nepal, was arrested on 26 October 1992 in Bhiman village, Sindhuli district, in connection with an incident of murder. He was first reportedly beaten in his home by members of the ruling Nepali Congress Party, who tied him up and dragged him to the police station. Once in police custody, he was allegedly beaten repeatedly for two days after refusing to sign a confession to murder.

406. On 23 November 1993 the Government replied that on 27 October 1992 a fight had broken out between residents of the Bhirman and Hardiya villages, Sindhuli district, during which two persons were killed and others injured. The police had carried out an investigation and filed a case with the District Court, which had ordered the detention of six persons, including Mr. Lama. Subsequently, the Court of Appeal had confirmed the detention of Mr. Lama and released the five others. All of them had been injured during the incident of 27 October. It could not be confirmed that they had been tortured during the period of detention.

407. Tul Bahadur Sarki was arrested by police in the same circumstances as Chaitu Lama. In the police station he was reportedly beaten with sticks on the arms, calves and soles of the feet, including while suspended upside down. He was also said to have been threatened with death when he refused to sign a statement saying that he had witnessed Chaitu Lama and another person committing murder.

408. Purna Bahadur Bishwokarma, aged 61, was arrested on 1 November 1992 in Thalajung village, Gorkha district, on suspicion of theft and taken to Gorkha District Police Office (DPO), where he was said to have been beaten regularly with sticks and with sisnu (a plant which causes painful swellings on the skin). When he was released, on 19 November, he was unable to work and died a few days later.

409. On 23 November 1993 the Government replied that Mr. Bishwokarma had been beaten by local residents before being brought to the police station. After inquiries were made he was allowed to return home. A few days later his corpse was found at the Pokharithok market in Gorkha. The post mortem report did not indicate beating or torture as the cause of death. However, the investigation was still under way.

410. Bhim Bahadur Gurung was arrested in the same circumstances as Purna Bahadur. At the DPO he was reportedly boxed on the ears, pulled by the hair and kicked and punched in the face and abdomen. It was also alleged that he was forced to sit in the kukhura (chicken) position, when the victim's hands are loosely tied behind the back with a rope, then brought forward under the thighs, with the legs bent at the knee and with the head then being pushed forward between the legs and under the rope tying the hands. After being forced into this position, he was beaten for about half an hour. He was released 24 days later, reportedly without charge and without having appeared before a court, having been held incommunicado throughout his detention.

411. Suya Bahadur Rana was arrested on 3 November 1992 in the same circumstances as Purna Bahadur and kept incommunicado at the DPO for 22 days. He was reportedly taken to the police inspector's office, forced into the kukhura position and beaten on the soles of the feet, ankles, thighs and arms on several occasions during his detention. He was also forced to jump up and down when his feet were painfully raw from beatings. A medical examination carried out after his release indicated injuries consistent with the alleged torture. On 23 November 1993 the Government replied that the allegations were false.

412. Pratap Bishwokarma was arrested on 9 November 1992 in the same circumstances as the three previous persons and taken to the Gorkha DPO. He was allegedly beaten on the ankles with sticks, forced into the kukhura position and beaten on the soles of the feet for about half an hour, after which he was made to jump up and down on his wounded feet. At the time of his release, after 17 days in incommunicado detention, the police reportedly threatened to rearrest him if he disclosed that he had been tortured. On 23 November 1993 the Government replied that the allegations were false.

413. Dewan Singh Gurung was arrested on 6 November 1992, like the previous four persons. According to the reports, he was forced into the kukhura position and beaten on the soles of the feet with a rough stick. Thereafter he was beaten all over the body; and on the sixth day, he was stripped naked and beaten for 10 minutes with sisnu dipped in water. He was reportedly also punched in the abdomen, and made to jump up and down until he was unable to stand. He was released after 13 days in incommunicado detention.

414. Sanu Maya Bishwokarma was incriminated by evidence given under torture by her husband Purna Bishwokarma. She was arrested on 15 November and was held incommunicado for one week. She was reportedly beaten during and after arrest, both with sticks and sisnu, and was held by the hair and lifted into the air.

415. Mnikala Rai was arrested by police at Buddhanilkantha, Kathmandu on 13 December 1992 and detained overnight. In addition to being raped, she was allegedly kicked and beaten until she became unconscious. A medical examination carried out after her release reportedly indicated injuries consistent with rape, including severe bruises on the chest, thighs, arms, face and head.

416. On 23 November 1993 the Government replied that a deputy superintendent of police had been dismissed in connection with Mani Kala Rai's ill-treatment. However, it was not true that she had been beaten to unconsciousness while in police custody.

417. The Special Rapporteur was also informed of a large number of arrests which allegedly took place between 25 and 28 June 1993 following demonstrations in Kathmandu and neighbouring towns called by the Communist Party of Nepal. According to the reports, over 300 people were taken into custody and most of them were beaten on the shins with sticks. As a result, some were unable to walk properly.

418. With respect to this incident the Government replied on 23 November 1993 that during the period of the said nationwide strike, when the demonstrators at the various places of the Kathmandu Valley had taken the law into their hands by resorting to arson, damaging public places and stoning public houses and vehicles, the police had had to take into custody some persons involved in those activities in order to make an on-the-spot investigation, to prevent the violence going out of control, and to protect public and private properties from further damage. After investigation, some of those who were found innocent were released the same day, and legal action under prevailing laws was taken against those who were found to have been involved in violent and destructive activities.

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