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Enforced disappearance and torture of Jit Man Basnet from February to October 2004

12.02.2016 ( Last modified: 27.02.2017 )

The case

In February 2011, TRIAL submitted an individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding the enforced disappearance and torture of Jit Man Basnet in February 2004. In this case, TRIAL also represents the victim’s cousin, Top Bahadur Basnet.

Jit Man Basnet is a journalist and a lawyer in Kathmandu. On 4 February 2004, he was arrested by security forces and brought to a detention camp known as Bairabnath Battalion barracks.

During this time period (2003-2004) the Bhairabnath Battalion Barracks run by the Royal Nepali Army (RNA) became notorious. In May 2006, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report after an investigation of the Maharajgunj RNA barracks in Kathmandu. The Bhairabnath Battalion, quartered at these barracks, played the primary role in the arrest, illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial killing and disappearance of hundreds of people suspected of affiliation with the Maoists, in 2003 and thereafter.

During the first three days of detention Jit Man Basnet was extensively tortured and beaten. There was no fixed routine, the soldiers would come for him at any time of night or day. Beyond the physical pain inflicted by the severe beatings, not knowing when they would come again provoked an ongoing mental distress. The guard accused him having contacts with the Maoists, when he explained he had no information about Maoists, the torture would only get worse. The detention conditions were inhuman. During 258 days Jit Man Basnet was continuously blindfolded and handcuffed.

On 18 October 2004, Jit Man Basnet was finally released. He was strictly forbidden to reveal the existence of the barracks and was forced to sign a paper stating that he was kept in detention for only 90 days, in accordance with state of emergency laws.

More than seven years have passed and, no ex officio, prompt, impartial, thorough and independent investigation has been carried out by Nepal authorities and no one has been prosecuted, judged and sanctioned for the enforce disappearance and torture of Jit Man Basnet, thus fostering an ongoing climate of impunity

In February 2011, TRIAL thus submitted an individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee asking it:

 

General context

In February 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) overtly declared war against the official governmental authorities of Nepal, which at the time was ruled in the form of a constitutional monarchy.

The conflict rapidly spread all over the country. In 2001, when violence truly escalated into a civil war, a state of emergency was declared. The state of emergency allowed the State to increase its repression against persons who were suspected of helping the Maoist insurgents and to derogate from fundamental rights and liberties. The recourse to enforced disappearances, torture, summary executions and arbitrary detentions by State agents and Maoists was generalized during this period. Arbitrary detention and torture were used years after the end of the state of emergency against all those suspected of affiliation with the Maoists. It is within this context that Jit Man Basnet was detained and disappeared for over 8 months.

 

The Decision

On 29 October 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted its decision on the case of Mr. Jit Man Basnet. The Committee held Nepal internationally responsible for violating several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to personal liberty, to humane treatment, to recognition before the law, and the prohibition of torture. In particular, the Committee found the State responsible for its lack of investigation into these crimes and for the ongoing impunity of those responsible. The Committee also condemned Nepal for violating Mr. Top Bahadur Basnet’s right to humane treatment by disregarding his acute anguish and denying that his cousin had been subject to enforced disappearance.

The Committee requested Nepal to:

  • Investigate into the facts surrounding the detention of Mr. Jit Man Basnet and prosecute, try, and sanction those responsible
  • Ensure that Mr. Jit Man Basnet and Mr. Top Bahadur Basnet receive compensation, psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment
  • Adopt measures of satisfaction, including restoration of dignity and reputation of the two men
  • Amend the existing legal framework to codify the crimes of enforced disappearance and torture
  • Translate into Nepalese and publish the Committee’s decision.
  • Nepal now has 180 days to inform the Committee of the measures taken to implement the decision.

 

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