Archive ref no: NCA-18883
Document - Nepal: Fear for safety/ possible "disappearance"
PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 31/046/2004
23 February 2004
UA 76/04 Fear for safety/ possible "disappearance"
NEPAL Matrika Prasad Yadav (m), Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) Politburo member
Suresh Ale Magar (m), CPN (Maoist) Central Committee member
Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar were reportedly arrested in Lucknow, India by Indian security forces on 8 February, and handed over to the Nepali authorities the same day. The two men were apparently airlifted to Kathmandu on 9 February, and have been detained since then at an undisclosed location in the Kathmandu valley. Their exact whereabouts are unknown and Amnesty International is concerned that they may have "disappeared".
Both Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar are both senior figures within the leadership of the CPN (Maoist). Matrika Prasad Yadav is the head of the Madheshi Autonomous Provincial People's Government (a second government declared by the CPN (Maoist) in Sarlahi district in late January 2004). He previously "disappeared" following his arrest on 26 March 2000 on numerous charges relating to activities of the CPN (Maoist), but he was released on 16 October 2001 in the run-up to peace talks between the CPN (Maoist) and the government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was then in power. Matrika Prasad Yadav was a member of the CPN (Maoist) negotiating team during the failed peace talks in August 2003.
Suresh Ale Magar is a founder member of the Nepal Indigenous People’s Movement, an organisation which campaigns for the rights of Nepal’s ethnic minority groups. He was previously arrested and detained three times in 1999-2000, on suspicion of involvement with the CPN (Maoist).
The arrests of these men in Indian territory are a part of continuing cooperation between the Nepali and Indian authorities aimed at preventing suspected members of the CPN (Maoist) from sheltering along the Nepal-India border.
Amnesty International has been concerned about a deterioration in the human rights situation in Nepal since the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) launched a "people’s war" in February 1996. Reports of human rights abuses by both the security forces and the CPN (Maoist) escalated after the army was mobilized and a state of emergency imposed between November 2001 and August 2002. Many people were arrested under the 2002 Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Act (TADA), which gave the security forces the power to arrest without warrant and detain suspects in police custody for up to 90 days. Scores of people are reported to have been held for weeks or even months in illegal army custody without access to their families, lawyers or medical treatment. In 2002, Nepal recorded the highest number of "disappearances" of any country in the world. The CPN (Maoist) are also reported to have abducted scores of people.
On 29 January 2003, both sides agreed to a ceasefire. Three rounds of peace talks were held - in April, May and August - between the government and representatives of the CPN (Maoist). Among the CPN (Maoist)'s central demands were a round table conference, the formation of an interim government and elections to a constituent assembly to draft a new Constitution.
The CPN (Maoist) announced they were withdrawing from the ceasefire agreement as of 27 August 2003. Since then, fighting has resumed throughout the country, and Amnesty International has received reports of both sides committing human rights abuses. In particular there has been a rise in the number of "disappearances" at the hands of the security forces and abductions by the CPN (Maoist).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar, who were reportedly arrested in Lucknow, India on 8 February 2004, and then handed over to the Nepali security forces;
- urging that they be treated humanely while in custody and not tortured or ill-treated;
- calling on the authorities to make public their whereabouts and to grant them immediate access to their relatives, lawyers and any medical attention they may require;
- calling for the two men to be releasedimmediately and unconditionally, unless they are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence.
General Pyar Jung Thapa
Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
Telegram: Commander-in-Chief, Army Headquarters, Kathmandu, Nepal
Fax: + 977 1 4 242 168 (Faxes may be switched off outsi-de office hours, 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT)
Salutation: Dear Commander-in-Chief
Colonel Nilendra Prasad Aryal
Head of Army Human Rights Cell
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
Telegram: Colonel NP Aryal, Army Headquarters, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
Fax: + 977 1 4 226 292/ 229 451 (Faxes may be switched off outside office hours, 5½ hours ahead of GMT)
Salutation: Dear Colonel
Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa
Prime Minister’s Office
Fax: + 977 1 4 227 286 (Faxes may be switched off outside office hours, 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT)
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Nepal accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 March 2004.