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Nepal: a victim of enforced disappearance and torture in Terai petitions the UN for justice

20.02.2014 ( Last modified: 28.03.2018 )

TRIAL submitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee, on behalf of a Nepalese citizen, Mr. Prashanta Pandey, on a case of his torture and violations of the right to a fair trial perpetrated in the Terai by Nepalese authorities.

Arbitrarily arrested, disappeared and tortured

Prashanta Pandey, a citizen from Terai, was arbitrarily arrested on 7 April 2011 by three police officers from the Ruphandehi District Police Office without being informed of the reasons and without any arrest warrant. He was brought to Lumbini Zonal Police Office and subjected to repeated interrogations, torture and severe ill-treatment, in order to extract from him a confession on his alleged involvement in the planning and execution of a bomb-explosion perpetrated on 27 March 2011, in which he always denied having any implication.

During his detention with the police, Mr. Pandey was repeatedly beaten, kept constantly blindfolded and handcuffed, insulted and threatened. He was even forced to urinate on a live electric heater, provoking a shock that made him bleed from his genitals and faint. He never received any medical treatment or attention.

Exhausted and prostrated Mr. Pandey signed a confession extorted through torture on 13 April 2011. Between 7 and 11 April 2011, he was held incommunicado. While his mother was struggling to determine his fate and whereabouts, Nepalese authorities denied having knowledge of his deprivation of liberty and deliberately concealed his whereabouts. It is only after Mr. Pandey signed this confession that he was allowed to communicate to the outside world. Newspaper articles were published and he was labeled as a terrorist and a murderer.

Today, as a consequence of the many torture endured, Mr. Pandey still suffers of a grave form of depression and sexual dysfunctions.

Prashanta’s Release after one year and his struggles for justice

On 13 June 2012, the Rupandehi District Court held that there was no evidence of Mr. Pandey’s involvement in the placement of the bomb. He was however declared responsible for the preparation of the attack and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, which he had already spent during the trial and was thus released. The confession obtained through torture was considered as valid evidence.

He ultimately submitted a complaint to the Supreme Court of Nepal on 23 January 2013, seeking relief and requesting the latter to order that the 35-day statute of limitations is not applied to his case. The claim is still pending before the Supreme Court, but he has no real prospect of success, considering that the Court never disregarded the statute of limitations established under domestic legislation.

The UN Human Rights Committee has therefore been asked in the present complaint, to make a finding concerning the serious human rights violations suffered by the victim and to open a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into these alleged crimes, as well as to prosecute and sanction the perpetrators.

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