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Nepal: 3 Detained For Anti-China Protests Released

Nepal: UN welcomes release of three detained under public security law

8 July 2008 - The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal has welcomed the release of three people who had been detained under the country's Public Security Act (PSA).

The three people, two of whom are Nepali citizens, were accused of carrying out "acts that affect security, peace and order by chanting anti-China slogans in different public places in the capital," in connection with protests against alleged human rights violations in Tibet.

Last month, High Commissioner Louise Arbour sent a letter to the South Asian nation's Government in which she expressed her concerns about the use of the PSA, which was used often by authorities before April 2006 to arbitrarily arrest and detain protestors.

In a press release issued today, OHCHR voiced its apprehension about the "breadth of the prevention regime in the PSA and again urges the Government to either significantly amend the Act or to repeal it."

The Office stressed that preventive detention should only be utilized "where necessary," and even then only when supplemented by the appropriate safeguards, such as access to courts.

"It is also vital that the powers under the PSA not be used to suppress legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly or for political reasons."

ENDS

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