ACHR PRESS RELEASE
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ACHR Index: PR/NP/08/06
13 May 2006

Arrest of former Nepalese Ministers
under prevention detention laws criticised

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today urged the government of Nepal not to mis-use the Public Safety Act and the Public Offences Act against former Ministers and uphold the rule of law. On 12 May 2006, the government of Nepal arrested five former Ministers i.e. former Home Minister Kamal Thapa, former Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey, former minister of state for Information and Communications, Shrish Shumsher Rana, former minister for Local Development Tanka Dhakal, and former Assistant Minister for Health Nikshya Shumsher Rana.

“While the dismissal of Inspector General of the Nepal Police, Shyam Bhakta Thapa, Inspector General of the Armed Police Force, Shahabir Thapa, and NID head, Devi Ram Sharma is indispensable to prevent destruction an tampering of evidence and mis-use of official powers, the arrest of the ministers under the Public Safety Act is unwarranted. The government should have waited the conclusion of the Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi Commission of Inquiry before making any arrest of the former Ministers for alleged violations of human rights.”stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The Public Safety Act and the Public Offences Act must not be used to throttle the freedom of expression. All accused must be arrested under normal law of the land such as Muluki Ain.

The Public Safety Act and the Public Offences Act are instruments of the monarchy of Nepal that have been consistently used to suppress the pro-democracy uprisings. However, the democratic governments of Nepal failed to repeal these draconian Acts and the SPA government is presently using the same Acts. Thousands of people including pro-democracy activists have been held without trial under these draconian preventive detention laws.

ACHR urged the government of Nepal to repeal the Public Safety Act and Public Offences Act, and suspend the Royal Nepal Army Chief, Pyar Jung Thapa for a fair inquiry.

“The Inquiry Commission must bear in mind that all the illegal acts and human rights violations have been done under the leadership of King Gyanendra as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and investigate the chain of command accordingly.” further stated Mr Suhas Chakma.

[End]


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