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Nepal: Extra-judicial killings inquiry urgent


Nepal: Inquiry into more reports of extra-judicial killings urgently needed

In a letter to Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa and Colonel Nilendra Aryal, Head of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) human rights cell, Amnesty International demanded an immediate inquiry into the reports that 14 suspected Maoist activists and two civilians were extrajudicially executed by the security forces during a raid on a village in Bhimad, Makwanpur district, on 5 February.

The 14 Maoists had demanded shelter for the night from residents living in Ward 4, Handikhola Village Development Committee, and were sleeping in three houses and two cowsheds when the security forces patrol arrived and surrounded them. Although the actual details of the event are unclear, it appears that at least 12 Maoists were shot dead on the spot by the security forces personnel and two were taken into custody, had their hands tied and were later summarily executed.

Two local residents - who were not part of the Maoist group - were also killed. A 31-year-old man was shot when he opened the door to his house and an 80-year-old woman was shot and injured while fleeing.

"The investigation should establish whether the security forces opened fire indiscriminately and whether instead they could have taken steps to arrest and detain the suspects as required under the normal process of law," said Amnesty International.

"We have requested the Prime Minister to initiate an immediate independent and impartial inquiry into these allegations of extrajudicial executions. There is no indication from villagers at the location that the Maoists seeking shelter were armed. In any case, this does not legitimise the summary execution of those who were taken into custody," Amnesty International emphasized.

In the letter to the authorities, the organization also raised its concerns regarding the killing of Hem Narayan Yadav, a member of the dissolved parliament and member of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), by a group of unidentified people on 2 February.

Hem Narayan Yadav was reportedly abducted near the Gagan River in Siraha district while on his way by motorbike to attend a CPN-UML district committee meeting in Lahan. Witnesses allege that three people in plain clothes armed with sub-machine guns, believed to be security forces personnel, stopped him at a roadside checkpoint and forced him into a black van without a number plate. His body was found next day on the banks of the Kamala River, some 30 kilometres away, with gunshot injuries to the head and back. According to a post-mortem report, conducted by a local doctor in Siraha district, the bullets were likely to have been fired from a sub-machine gun and a 7mm pistol.

The site where the abduction took place is said to be one kilometre from the Joint Security Forces Headquarters at Indra Dhwaj Gan, and near the area police office. Observers have commented that security is very high in the area and that it would be difficult for armed Maoists or criminals to move around freely.

The RNA spokesman, Colonel Deepak Gurung, in a statement on 11 February, denied army involvement in the suspicious death of Hem Narayan Yadav. The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) have also reportedly denied involvement in his abduction and killing.

Background

Amnesty International has recently concluded a two week research visit to Nepal, during which a delegation met with government authorities including the Prime Minister and members of the RNA human rights cell. The delegates expressed grave concern about reports of an escalation of extrajudicial killings by the security forces, and other human rights violations including arbitrary arrests, "disappearances" and torture in the context of armed conflict between the security forces and the CPN (Maoist). It urged the government to take immediate measures to prevent the country sliding towards a human rights catastrophe.

Amnesty International also investigated abuses by the CPN (Maoist), including the abduction and killing of civilians and the forced recruitment and indoctrination of school students.

The organization made public twenty steps -- which if implemented by the government and CPN (Maoist) -- could significantly improve the human rights situation. In particular, it urged both sides to the conflict to sign the Human Rights Accord, which would provide for the establishment of up to five regional offices of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), with technical assistance provided by the United Nations (UN).

Nepal: Twenty steps to stop slide towards human rights catastrophe: http://amnesty-news.c.tep1.com/maabW1daa4qJ7bb0hPub/

View all documents on Nepal at http://amnesty-news.c.tep1.com/maabW1daa4qJ8bb0hPub/

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