Archive ref no: NCA-18957
Missing and maimed: Case studies of forced disappearances and torture committed by the Nepalese security forces
Advocacy Forum, Kathmandu, Nepal & Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong
The following are a handful of the types of cases of forced disappearance and torture committed daily by the Nepalese security forces. The perpetrators include Royal Nepalese Army troops, Armed Police, regular police, and all three operating together as Joint Security Force units. They come in and out of uniform at any time of day or night, and they come to any place, as Pralahad Waiba found when he was taken out of his school classroom. They operate with total impunity.
While many of the arrests, torture and disappearances are ostensibly aimed at addressing the insurgency, these cases speak to the fact that in many instances people are taken at random, and - particularly in cases of torture in urban areas - often on accusation of involvement in conventional crimes. The victims are also taken without discrimination: they include children, elderly, women and the handicapped.
Some disappeared persons, like Jayakali Khatri and Hitkala Dangi, are believed to have been killed shortly after they were taken; however, their bodies have never been recovered. In other cases, no news emerges as to what has happened to them at all. Many disappeared persons are also believed to be tortured, some extremely brutally, like Maina Sunuwar.
Criminal suspects are routinely tortured. The methods of torture described by victims speak to the fact that they are totally institutionalised in policing in Nepal. Additionally, as the lines between various security agencies have been blurred, the army also engages in horrific torture of detainees who are accused of ordinary crimes, like Narayan Nepali, who was electrocuted on the forehead. The blurring is also evidenced by the fact that the police are reported to carry out arrests on instruction of the army, without knowing for what purpose, such as in the case of Upendra Timilsena.
After each disappearance, killing, or act of torture, a cynical charade of some kind follows. Disappeared and killed persons in rural areas are described on radio as terrorists killed in encounters with troops. Torture victims taken before the courts are only sometimes asked if they were abused, but rarely given proper medical treatment in accordance with the requirements of the Torture Compensation Act. And despite evidence of forced confessions, they are invariably remanded in custody pending trial on the charges that the police have concocted against them. Another increasingly common pattern is rearrest of torture victims ordered released by the courts, such as Jhurri Teli, speaking to the total absence of any effective judicial authority over the actions of the security forces under the present administration in Nepal. Advocacy Forum and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have reported on numerous rearrest cases in the latter part of 2004.
See appendix 1 and 2 of this report for details of more disappearances, torture and killings.
A. MISSING: FORCED DISAPPEARANCES
1. Hira Bahadur Nepali: Last seen by the water tank
At about 8am on 11 December 2001 a Royal Nepalese Army patrol arrested Hari Bahadur Nepali, 32, of Dhanwang-3, Salyan District. His 30-year-old wife, Amba Kumari Nepali, recalls that
I had gone to my parents' place in Siwang-4 that morning. As my husband was mentally retarded, he used to stay around home. Dundi Ram Sir, a teacher at the local school told me that the patrolling soldiers had arrested my husband at around 8 in the morning alongside the Kimchaur Water Tank.
Hari has been missing since he was taken, and his family has heard nothing about him. The family is suffering from his loss, as Hari used to take care of a vegetable garden to get income. As the other family members cannot take care of the garden well, life has been more difficult for them. Other villagers have also avoided the family since the arrest, causing them further distress.
2. Dhan Maya Chaudhary: Two sisters go, only one returns
Around 11am of 14 January 2002 a large number of Royal Nepalese Army soldiers under a Captain Rameswor Suwar arrived and searched the house of 25-year-old social worker, Dhan Maya Chaudhary, in Nauwasta, Banke District. They instructed her not to work for the Kamaiya [bonded labourers] Freedom Movement, after which they left. When Dhan Maya was returning home that same evening, the captain met her along the way and told her to report to the Chisapani Barracks the next morning for enquiries. After talking over it with her family, she went along with her sister. However, after two hours, her sister came home alone.
Dhan Maya's parents went to visit the army barracks in search of their daughter many times, but were repeatedly told that she was not there. Sati Ram Chaudhary, her father, the president of the Village Development Committee, was required to go again to the barracks after the Maoists set the committee building on fire the following month. There he again asked about his daughter but was given the same account. To comfort him, the officers said that they would search for her. However, one of the soldiers of the same barrack said that after Dhan Maya had been brought there she was released the same day.
3. Surya Prasad Sharma: Case left hanging before the Supreme Court
At around 5am on 14 January 2002, a group of 10-12 Royal Nepalese Army soldiers of the Kalidal Barracks, Baglung Distict, surrounded the house of Surya Prasad Sharma, 39, residing in Baglung-2. They awoke the occupants, and Surya's wife, Yasoda Sharma, opened the door. The soldiers asked for her husband, then the captain in charge and one of the soldiers entered and dragged Surya out, stating that interrogations had to be made and that he would have to accompany them to the army barrack. They searched everything and the soldiers threatened the neighbours to get back inside their houses while they gave Surya a severe beating.
Yasoda followed her husband to the local barracks and witnessed him being taken into the second gate, but she was not allowed to enter. The next day she took food and clothes for him, but the soldiers sent her back, saying that her husband was well and that the food and clothes could not be given to him. She returned to visit him once more on January 20 but was again not allowed to meet him. When a soldier arrived later at her house and said that her husband had asked for tobacco, Yasoda requested that he tell her the whereabouts of her husband. The soldier said he had been severely beaten, so Yasoda went again to the barracks on January 21. This time she was allowed to see Surya from a distance, but could not speak with him. On February 2 she again went, and this time met with Major Chandra Bahadur Pun, who informed her that Surya was out patrolling with troops in order to identify other Maoists. He assured her that her husband would be released after the completion of necessary investigations. On February 3 she contacted the Chief District Officer but was told that nothing could be done, as the country was under a state of emergency. On February 4 she tried to get information from the Baglung District Police Office, without success. She also appealed to the National Human Rights Commission and other human rights groups, but could learn nothing of his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, on February 3, she filed a habeas corpus writ against the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Security, the Police Headquarters, the Royal Nepalese Army Headquarters, the Baglung District Administrative Office and the Kalidal Barracks of Baglung. The Supreme Court ordered that the file on Surya be shown the next day; however, all respondents except the Chief District Officer replied that Surya had never been arrested or detained illegally and was not at that time in custody.
However, the Baglung Chief District Officer's office replied on 2 April 2003 that on 21 January 2002 while troops from the Kalidal Barracks were patrolling with Surya Prasad Sharma at about 4pm along the Dovan way, the Maoists ambushed them and when they retaliated, two rebels jumped into the Kali Gandaki River. According to its version of events, Surya Prasad Sharma also jumped into the river in the confusion.
On 23 April 2003 the Joint Bench of Justice Hari Prasad Sharma and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi ordered that Yasoda Sharma appear in court, which she did on 2 May 2003. The court then ordered that Surya Sharma's arrest should be investigated further with the aid of the Office of the Attorney General. It noted that his wife claimed in her statement that she saw him dressed in military clothing travelling in an army jeep along with the troops of the Kalidal Barracks on 27 March 2003 at 11am. After inquiring into the case, the Office of the Attorney General reported that "the Kalidal Gulm [Barracks] had been already replaced by Khadgadal Gulm shortly after [Surya's arrest] and the latter had neither arrested nor received any information on Surya's case by the prior Barracks". On 12 November 2003, the Supreme Court again ordered the Chief District Officer to give details about Surya's arrest. The case is still pending before the court.
4. Dukhiya Tharu: An unfinished cup of tea
Dukhiya Tharu, a 45-year-old farmer residing in Katari-8 of Udayapur District, had gone to work at a mill with his family on 14 April 2002, but returned early and went to enjoy some tea in the market after a power failure caused them to stop work. His 45-year-old wife Ghorli recalls that
As there was a power failure, I came back home at around 3pm. My husband and son stayed in the market. But in the evening, my son came back alone and told me that the police had arrested my husband. I was not allowed to meet him when I visited the police station the next day. However, they accepted food I had brought for him. As they threatened me, I did not visit the place again.
After my eldest son had seen my husband being taken to the Taraghari Barracks, I went to meet him there. At that time, he told me that he would return home after five days. But he has not yet returned home. I don't know where he is, what he is doing, why he was arrested and even if he is still alive. He was not affiliated to any political party and did not receive any threats prior to his arrest. Sometime later, the radio announced that a man had been killed in an encounter with the army at Taraghari Barracks. The people there told me that the man killed in the camp was my husband.
A neighbor of Dukhiya, Kali Prasad Rijal, also remembers the events of that day.
I was also at the Katari Bazaar on the same day. Since it was raining I went in a teashop for tea at around 2:30pm. Dukhiya was already there and we were drinking tea together when a police van stopped near the teashop and the police called Dukhiya to get inside. On the day after his arrest, I went to the police station along with other villagers and asked for the cause of his arrest. The police failed to show the cause and responded that he would be released after a few days. Then we returned home. I don't know how and why he was taken to the Taraghari Barracks and because we were afraid we did not dare to visit him there. I am not aware of Dukhiya's present condition but I guess that he must have been killed by now.
5. Kaliram Tharu & two friends: Tortured and disappeared for playing games
Fourteen-year-old Kaliram Tharu of Mohamadpur-8, Bardiya District, was minding cattle and playing with his friends at around 3pm on 25 April 2002 when a group of 50-60 uniformed and armed Joint Security Force personnel approached. The troops asked the boys if they had learnt martial arts. One of them boastfully replied that they had training and were paid Rs150 a month. The security officers then accused them of being Maoists. Despite the boys saying that they were students and not Maoists, the officers started beating them, and took them towards a nursery located on the eastern side of the village. As they were being taken, Munturi Tharu, Kaliram's mother, approached the troops: "When my son was brought with other boys along the way by my home, I asked them why they had arrested my small boy who was studying. They told me that my son was a Maoist."
At the nursery, the boys were tortured for a further 15 minutes, and Kaliram Tharu's tooth was broken due to the beatings. One villager, Subha Dayal Tharu, recalls seeing from a distance "some 10-15 boys being thrashed with sticks and boots in the nursery". From there, the boys were taken to Vici Barracks , where they were forced to strip to their underwear and lie on the dirt. Then they were taken to the District Police Office, where Kaliram could not eat the food provided due to the swelling of his face. At around 7pm, three of them, including Kaliram, were taken to the east of the village in a van. They did not come back. Only one person who had been taken to the police station, 27-year-old Bhikhu Tharu, was released. The next day, Radio Nepal announced that three Maoists had been killed in an encounter in Mohamadpur area, and bombs, pistols and other materials had been seized. The news did not give names.
6. Sharad Kumar Chaudhary: Bussed away after religious ceremony
Sharad Kumar Chaudhary, a 20-year-old married student residing at Hadami in Bijauri-6 of Dang District, was arrested by soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army from Ghorahi on 25 May 2002. The village where he was staying, Pereni, in Hapure District, was surrounded by the troops at around 7am. He was arrested along with other persons in the village and was last seen being taken towards Ghorahi by bus.
According to Sharad's father, Hum Lal Chaudhary, "Sharad was arrested at his friend's house. He had gone there a day before to attend a religious ceremony. We did not receive any threats before his arrest. However, a year after Sharad's arrest, a few policemen came to my house and searched. They took 1100 rupees from my trousers. After that, they did not come to my home again."
After Sharad's arrest, the family visited the Barakh Barracks in Ghorahi twice, but could not find Sharad's name in the different lists of arrested, detained and killed persons kept there. When the family enquired at the District Administration Office, Ghorahi, the officers also said they knew nothing. Sharad has not been seen since.
7. Likha Ram Tharu: Tortured and disappeared for quitting job
On 12 July 2002 21-year-old Likha Ram Tharu went to the Pritana Headquarters for a physical fitness checkup in order to be recruited into the Royal Nepalese Army. At the time he was a grade 9 student in Bidhyajyoti Secondary School, Kalika, Bardiya. As he was standing in queue, a Captain Ramesh, in whose house he had worked previously, pulled him out. Raj Kumar Tharu, of Mohamadpur-8, Bhainsahi, Bardiya, witnessed the event.
I was also in the same queue that day and Likha stood about 5-6 people ahead to me. It was around 2pm that a member of the selection panel pulled him out of the queue and took him away some distance. When he found out that I was also from Bhainsahi, he asked me, 'How far is your house from Likha's? Has Likha been involved with the Maoists?' I told him that Likha's house was just opposite to mine and that I failed to have knowledge about his involvement with the Maoists, having returned from India recently. I also told him that I had seen him at his home since I got back. But the captain accused me of lying to him and ordered me to leave the place.
Likha's 65-year-old father, Hari Ram Tharu, takes up the story.
My son worked in the house of Captain Ramesh at Nepalgunj for about six months until late September 2001 when he came back home as he could not bear the mental trauma caused by the captain's maltreatment of him on nights when he came back home drunk. I then enrolled him in school. When there was call for army recruitment, he also submitted an application and on July 12 he had gone to the Pritana Headquarters for his physical checkup when the same captain captured him and took him away.
When I went to the Pritana Headquarters, the soldiers on duty told me that the captain drove my son to the Chisapani Barracks at night. Raj Kumar Tharu and Prem Bahadur Tharu also said that they saw Likha being pulled out of the line by the captain. Dinesh Tharu also informed me that he stayed with Likha in the same room under army custody for three days, July 31 to August 3. With this information I went to the Bhimkali Barracks, Chisapani, but the same captain said, 'Who told you that he is here? He is not here.' But I know it is him who took my son as revenge because my son left his house.
Dinesh Tharu, 20, of Shorhawa-2, Jagatiya, Bardiya, talked about Likha after he was released from army custody on August 3.
Around 11am on July 21, after brutally shooting to death a 12-year-old girl, Rupa Tharu, about 300 soldiers of the joint military command arrested me. One of the soldiers beat my whole body for at least five minutes, except my head, with a rifle butt. They then blindfolded me and took me to the Bhimkali Barracks, Chisapani, where I was detained for 13 days blindfolded and with my hands bound behind my back. For eight days I was kept in solitary confinement. The plaster floor was cold, and neither was there any mat or blanket to cover myself. During the whole period I was beaten three times. The security officer who beat me on the fifth day of my detention accused me of providing shelter and food to the Maoists, and battered me at least 10-12 times on my thighs and arms with a baton. On the day of my release also, they beat me on my thighs and arms and threatened to kill me if ever I supported the Maoists.
Likha Ram, Radha Krishna Tharu and another man with the surname Sapkota were brought to the room where I was kept on the eighth day of my detention, and I remained with them until they released me on August 3. I never knew Likha before and they did not allow us to talk to each other. We used to talk at night in whispers, when all the soldiers slept. Likha told me his entire history from his gruelling days at the captain's house to the day he was brought to the barracks. Likha Ram was also blindfolded and his hands were shackled behind his back while in custody. The same security officer who had beaten me tortured Likha once. He roughed him up by asking questions, 'Didn't you try to sway that girl to quit working at my home? Didn't you say that you would kill me?' The captain then forced him to kneel down for at least five minutes and beat him on his thighs and arms with a baton. Later Likha told me that the officer was Captain Ramesh. Likha Ram developed swelling over his entire back due to the cruel beatings. He pleaded me to inform his family about everything as I was to be released.
A habeas corpus writ petition was filed in the Appeals Court, Nepalgunj, for Likha Ram Tharu, but the court rejected it in an order issued by a bench consisting of Justices Dhruba Nath Upahadhaya and Komal Nath Sharma on 3 June 2003. Since then, there has been no resolution of Likha Ram's disappearance.
8. Phul Raj Chaudhary: 'Have sex with us or lose your husband'
Around midnight on 30 August 2002, the sound of fighting could be heard in Nauwasta-8 in Banke District, spreading fear throughout the population. Then, at about 4am, 12-15 Royal Nepalese Army soldiers entered the house of Phul Raj Chaudhary and asked for him. When the 28-year-old Phul identified himself, they immediately grabbed him and started beating him. They kicked his whole body while he lay on the floor. They accused him of being a Maoist and then tied his hands and blindfolded him. However, they told his wife, Dhaniya Chaudhary, 24, that they would set her husband free on condition that she gave herself to them for sex. When she refused and cried, they verbally abused her, again claimed that her husband was a Maoist, searched the entire house, beat Phul's father and took him away.
Dhaniya Chaudhary later visited the Chisapani Barracks in search of her husband, but officers there denied his arrest. The family has not received any information about him since. However, at around midnight on September 27 three soldiers again came to the house, and tortured Phul's brother Gagan for about one hour, during which time they took him outside. One of the soldiers also tried to sexually assault Gagan's 17-year-old wife Shova; however, she managed to struggle free from him.
As a result of Phul going missing, the conditions of the family have worsened. Phul was a shopkeeper, and he took care of their family finances. Now Gagan is having to take care of the business, and has had to leave his studies. The children have also had to leave school, as the family cannot support their attendance any longer.
9. Dil Bahadur K C & Bhim Bahadur K C: Surrender and vanish
Dil Bahadur K C, 28, and Bhim Bahadur K C, 44, both residents of Pipalneta-5, Salyan District, were farmers and admitted Maoist supporters who went missing after they surrendered to the District Administration Office in the evening of 26 December 2002, following the declaration of the national emergency. They went to admit having involvement with the Maoists along with three other friends, Jeet Bahadur K C, Thal Bahadur K C, and Hurmat K C. They were kept for interrogation over five days, and were made to sign a paper together. They were then taken to the District Police Office, from where Hurmat, Thal and Jeet were released. However, Dil and Bhim have not been seen after that date.
Dil's family has been given no information about his disappearance, but nor has his wife, 26-year-old Dambari K C, gone to ask anywhere as she is afraid of what might happen to her if she makes inquiries. As she has four children to look after without her husband, she is worried for them if she was also to go missing. As it is, the family is barely able to survive now with no property or means of living, and are dependent on the charity of other villagers. Dambari laments that, "Dil supported the Maoists for only six months and after that, having discussed with other villagers about whether to continue supporting them or not, he had gone with his friends to surrender to the District Administration Office. He never came back home."
Bhim's brother contacted the Chief District Officer about his disappearance, but was given different stories. Sometimes the officers said that Bhim had been taken to Dang, and the next moment to Nepaljung. Finally the family became frustrated and gave up the search. Bhim's wife, 43-year-old Deli K C, has suffered terrible anxiety and trauma since he was lost.
10. Hari Dangal: Chased across the fields
Forty-year-old teacher Hari Dangal, a member of the district executive committee of the Nepal Teachers' Association, was having a cup of tea in a local shop in Indrapur-6, Govindapur, Morang District, on 25 September 2003 when about 6-7 plain clothes security force officers arrived. One of the family who runs the shop, 16-year-old Bed Kumari Bhattarai, recalls what happened.
I had returned from the school and it was about lunchtime that Hari Sir came to our teashop and asked for a cup of tea. While he was sipping tea, a group of people in ordinary outfits also arrived and exchanged suspicious looks with him for a while. Then Hari Sir left the shop and walked off through the fields in front of our house. After covering about 100 meters distance, he started running, and then the group of people started chasing him.
After about half an hour, the group brought Hari Sir back to our shop and started questioning my family members and me. When my mentally weak father could not furnish them with answers, they started battering him. I pleaded them to beat me instead of my father but my voice went unheeded. Instead, I was labelled 'Maoist' and told to go along with them. Despite replying that I was not a Maoist but a student, they dragged me along with Hari Sir onto their vehicle and we were driven off to the Itahari Barracks.
Arriving at the barracks, I was instantly moved to a separate room and they let me go the next day after holding a daylong interrogation with me. I don't know what they did with Hari Sir after that.
Hari Dangal has not been seen since. Inquiries by outside parties have also not revealed anything. The security forces have not admitted to his arrest.
11. Ram Prasad Acharya: Driven away in bedclothes
Near 3:45am on 11 November 2003, 9-10 security personnel came into the house of Ram Prasad Acharya, 48, at Pandit Pauwa, Kegalpur, where he was running a rice mill and living with his wife, two sons and three daughters. In total, some 50-60 personnel from Number 6 Baireni Barracks came to the premises. Some of the men were in uniform and some were in plain clothes. They initially encountered the mill's mechanic, who they beat with a stick and demanded to know about the mill's owner. Then they knocked at the door of the room where Ram Prasad's wife, 45-year-old Ruku Acharya, was sleeping with her children. When she replied that she couldn't open the door since she was sleeping there with the children, they said that they had come to search the house for her husband. After that, they found Ram Prasad sleeping with his friend, a construction contractor. They hit the contractor on the head with a searchlight and he fell unconscious. Then they pulled Ram Prasad outside in his bedclothes, covered with a quilt. They pushed his wife back inside and locked the door from outside. Later Ram Prasad's brother, Yudhisthir Acharya, who stays across the road, opened the door. The security personnel had brought two vehicles and they took Ram Prasad away in a white van. They also took his RX100 Yamaha motorcycle with registration no. Ba-5 Pa-5963.
When Ruku went to the Baireni Barracks to find out about her husband's whereabouts the next day, she was told that they do not rearrest those released on condition of reporting regularly to the office. Earlier in 2003 Ram Prasad had already been held for a day, and was supposed to report weekly to the barracks for two months. He had also been detained for 13 days after being arrested on 25 January 2003. However, another soldier told her that her husband would be brought to the barracks after a month, at which time they would inform her.
Ruku Acharya reported the case to the National Human Rights Commission on 12 November 2003, as well as to other bodies and human rights groups. A person from the International Committee of the Red Cross came to collect information from their house one month after the incident. A habeas corpus petition on his behalf is pending in the Supreme Court.
12. Jayakali Khatri & Hitkala Dangi: Victims of a ruse
On 16 December 2003 some men dressed as Maoists arrived around 1am at the farm hut in which Jayakali Khatri, 32, and her sister-in-law Hitkala Dangi, 34 were sleeping with a group of others near Mahdevpuri-3, Banke District. Purna Bahadur Khadkha, who was present in the hut, recalls what happened next.
I was sleeping beside Hitkala when four people in civilian dress entered unexpectedly and asked for food, stating that they had come from Salyan to meet their local Maoist friends. They also asked if their comrades had passed through and for the names of local Maoists. As she was drunk she gave the names of Samar, Dammar Shahi, and Sushil. They then asked about Hari Shah, who was killed sometime before, and in response she promptly replied that the security forces killed him. In an attempt to please them further, Hitkala said that her husband was a ward head of the party.
In fact, Dhan Bahadur Dangi, 42, the husband of Hitkala, insists that he is not part of the insurgents, and that his wife had said this just because she was drunk and thinking the men to be Maoists, had wanted to impress them. In reality, the men were disguised Royal Nepalese Army soldiers. Purnakali Khatri, Jayakali's sister, who was also at the farm hut, says that, "When the disguised security forces did not get any clues about the Maoist forces from other people in the hut, they eventually showed their identity cards and announced that they were security officers. As drunken Hitkala had said she knew Maoists, she took my sister for company, and the security forces left with them."
The group that came to the hut was part of a larger force of about 200 troops from the Chisapani Barracks. After going off with the soldiers, the two victims were not seen again. The sound of gunshots around 11am the following morning caused locals to believe that the two were shot dead by the troops at that time. According to Prem Bahadur Dangi, Hitkala's 12-year-old son, who also saw his mother taken away, "The next day while I was on my way to deliver milk I saw them returning, but my mother was not with them." Other witnesses report seeing the security forces returning only with a 60-year-old man bleeding from gunshot injuries on his mouth and head, who was taken to Kohalpur by bus. Chandra Bahadur Khadka, 60, a resident of Mahadevpuri-2, remembers that,
Before the incident, the security forces had come to the village and confined seven villagers in a local school for about four hours in order to interrogate them about Maoist activities. They also took away innocent people like Hitkala and Jayakali. Then, on December 18, the radio broadcast news on the killing of three Maoists at Mahadevpuri during clashes there. However, we didn't hear about any such fighting. It was later revealed that one of them was Sherjung, alias Sushil Shahi, however the two others are still unknown
13. Raj Kumar Pariyar: 'Bring large clothes'
Around 9:30am on 11 January 2004 a group of Royal Nepalese Army soldiers deployed from Jagadal Barracks arrested 25-year-old Raj Kumar Pariyar at Macchapokhari Balaju, Kathmandu, while he was going to his work at a garment factory.
His father has said that generally his son came home to the family house at Jitpur-Phadi-4 on the weekend, but after Raj Kumar did not come back for 15 days he went to check at his son's rented room at Basundara. The house owner also informed him that Raj Kumar hadn't been back during that time. Then his father searched for him in many places and asked many people, finally he heard that he was in Jagadal Barracks. He went to the barracks over ten times, but the personnel there refused to allow him to meet Raj Kumar. However, they told him he could bring some large-sized clothing, because his son's body had swollen due to infection. He brought back some suitable clothes and money to give his son.
On 21 June 2003, Raj Kumar's father met 28-year-old Luxman Aryal, who was arrested by a group of security forces at his house in Jitpur-fadhi Municipality, Kathmandu during April 2004 and released from the Jagadal Barracks on the day of the meeting. Luxman told him that his son is in the barracks.
An application on the case has been made to the National Human Rights Commission, but no further information has been forthcoming. Meanwhile, a habeas corpus petition filed in the Supreme Court on his behalf was quashed on 16 November 2004.
14. Maina Sunuwar: If the wife isn't available, take the daughter
[Note: This case was also reported in an article entitled 'My daughter killed thrice?' in Human Rights SOLIDARITY, vol. 14, no. 6, November 2004]
On 17 February 2004 about 15 soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army came to the house of Devi Sunuwar, an eyewitness to the gang-rape and killing of Reena Rasaili, and the killing of Subhadra Chaulagain in Pokahari Chauri, Kharelthok-6, Kavrepalanchok District, in February 2004 by security personnel. [See summaries of cases in appendix 1.] When they discovered that Devi had gone to her maternal home in Pokahari Chauri, they arrested her 15-year-old daughter Maina Sunuwar instead. Maina's father, Purna Bahadur Sunuwar, begged the men not to arrest his daughter, but they merely ordered him to bring his wife to the Lamidada Barracks if he wanted his daughter back.
Purna Bahadur immediately went to Pokahari Chauri to get his wife, and reported the incident to other relatives and also to the teachers of Bhagawati Higher Secondary School, where Maina was studying in ninth grade.
The next day, February 18, Purna Bahadur and Devi went to Lamidada Barracks together with the school principal, Tika Datta Pokharel, the Village Development Committee chairman, and about 25 other people from the same village. However, the officers there denied having Maina. Devi Sunuwar describes what happened next.
On February 19 I called the Dhulikhel Police Office but the person who received my call asked me to dial 100. When I did so, the man receiving my call asked me to hold on for a while and then after some time asked me whether I could come to Dhulikhel that day. As it was already 4pm, I replied I could not. He then asked me to come the next day and meet the inspector there.
On February 20 I went to the office of the Dhulikhel Deputy Superintendent of Police accompanied by representatives [of the Village Development Committee]. However, there also they denied the arrest and detention of my daughter. On the same day we went to Shanti Gate [location of an army barracks in Dhulikhel] and they also denied the arrest of my daughter. However when we asked the people near the camp, they said that two girls had been brought to the camp on the morning of February 17 in a vehicle driven by Captain Niranjan.
On February 25 I again went to Shanti Gate along with some VDC representatives to make enquiries about Maina's whereabouts, saying that villagers near the army barracks had seen my daughter in a vehicle driven by Captain Niranjan going into the barracks. The officer there denied it and said that they would enquire as to why the villagers said that they saw the girls in the vehicle driven by the captain.
Independent enquiries found that the second girl seen in the car was Bimala B K, from the same village. Bimala is now in prison, but in an interview there she recalled what happened on February 17.
I was asked [by the soldiers] to show Maina Sunuwar's house and I did it. Then they arrested both of us. After arresting us they tied our hands at the back and took us to the vehicle parked near Maina's house. Then we were driven to Shanti Gate Barracks in Dhulikhel and were blindfolded as we were brought inside. For some hours, they tied both of us to separate trees in the barracks and beat us. I could hear Maina crying and she heard me. After some hours I was taken to another place.
On April 21 a national weekly published the following letter:
Maina has been killed. She was arrested and brought to Panchkhal Training Centre. On the day of her arrest she was beaten up severely by Captain Niranjan Basnet and JAMDAR [officer-in-charge] Sher Bahadur Khadka. She was given electric shocks on her breasts, which resulted in her death. After her death, the Inspector of Dhulikhel was called and her body was buried. Since her death, the security has been tightened in the barracks and we are asked to say we have not arrested her if anybody comes to make any enquiry about her. As we could not tolerate the cruelty of some army officers, which ruins the image of the army as a whole, we as Hindus felt it our duty to inform this to the public… [signed] some army men.
After embassies and international organisations based in Kathmandu were informed about the case and made their own enquiries, the Royal Nepalese Army is reported to have written replies stating that "Maina was killed while she tried to escape from their custody on the way to army barracks". The reply also claimed that the police had conducted a post mortem and the body had been handed over to the family. Despite these claims, there has been no evidence of a post mortem being done, and nor has the family received the body or any information about Maina.
Meanwhile, Devi Sunuwar continues to face serious threats. She has received news that the security forces have been searching for her, and the family has had to leave their village out of fears for her safety. She has been appealing for protection for herself and her family, and to be told of what has happened to her daughter.
15. Surendra Rai: Repeated arrests
At about 3pm on 27 February 2004, 4-5 security personnel from the Rajdal Barracks, Lagankhel, came to the rented room of 40-year-old Surendra Rai, an employee of the Sigatse Carpet Industry in Nakkhu-13, Lalitpur, which he shares with his wife and daughter. They acted like they knew him. They asked him to come and talk about some matter, and took him away saying that they had some work with him. When he didn't return, his wife Shrijana Rai filed a report with the National Human Rights Commission and also appealed to other human rights groups to help.
Surendra was released after 13 days on the condition that he would report daily to the Rajdal Barracks. According to his wife he was beaten for two days during detention. He had bruises on his back and both arms. Nonetheless, he followed the condition of release, and went to the barracks each day.
Around 8pm on March 15 some plain clothed security personnel again came and said that Surendra was needed for an enquiry. They took him away in a white taxi. They released him around 7pm the next day from the Mahabirgan Barracks.
Finally, on March 18 when he went to the barracks as usual he was arrested again. He is since believed to be kept in the Mahabirgan Barracks. A habeas corpus writ filed on his behalf is pending with the Supreme Court.
16. Pralahad Waiba: Plucked out of the classroom
(AHRC UA-128-2004, 30 September 2004)
Around 11:30am on 1 March 2004 an armed contingent of some 50-60 Royal Nepalese Army soldiers arrived on the road leading up to the Shri Krishna Secondary School, under the command of the lieutenant in charge of the Farping Check Post. Four of them in civilian dress and carrying bags on their backs sneaked towards the school. One remained at the school gate while the rest, among them the lieutenant, walked into the school office, to the surprise of the headmaster, Jagadish Prasad Singh, and his staff. The lieutenant unfolded a piece of paper that was in his pocket and after scanning it asked the headmaster, "Do you know Pralahad Waiba?" The headmaster replied that Pralahad was his student, after which the lieutenant asked, "What sort of student is Pralahad? Do you have any information on him?" The perplexed headmaster responded that Pralahad was a good student, after which he was asked to call Pralahad to come into the room.
The headmaster then went to get 18-year-old Pralahad from class 9, and bring him to the office. The soldiers took Pralahad some 15 metres away from the room, saying that they needed to talk privately with the boy. Over a quarter of an hour passed, after which the soldiers returned Pralahad's books and class attendance register to the office before taking the boy away from the school in full view of all his teachers and friends. When the headmaster asked why they were taking his student, he was told to learn to keep records of his students and staff, saying that Pralahad had been involved in a February 13 ambush on troops at Chaimale-3, Ghorti Khola, which had killed one soldier and injured three. They told him that they would release Pralahad within 2-3 days, after interrogation.
Prahalad's father, Chandra Bahadur Waiba, who has been working at the same school as an attendant for the last six years was shocked that the soldiers could take his son out of the school premises and before the eyes of hundreds of people without any warrant. He had to be repeatedly calmed by the headmaster, who tried to reassure him that his son would be released after a few days. However, he could not be consoled and kept asking why his son was seized. According to Prahalad's friends, teachers and parents, Pralahad is a naive, introverted and honest boy. He speaks only after his name is called a few times. He always helps with household chores and never left his home before his arrest.
On April 28, Prahalad's anxious mother Maili Waiba went to the Farping Check Post to meet her son, as he had still not returned to home, and she wanted to give him some clothes. However, she was told that neither could she visit her son nor give him the clothes. She hasn't gone back since.
After two months of absence, Prahalad's father filed applications on his whereabouts with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other human rights organisations. The application was registered with the ICRC at No. 200847. He also filed an application with the National Human Rights Commission. However, to date there has been no news on his whereabouts.
17. Upendra Timilsena, Jivan Shrestha: Supreme Court release orders ignored
(AHRC UA-95-2004, 28 July 2004 & AHRC UP-44-2004, 3 August 2004; AHRC UA-159-2004, 22 November 2004 & AHRC UP-84-2004, 24 December 2004)
Upendra Timilsena, a 30-year-old resident of Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, was arrested at his house at around 9pm on 8 June 2004 by about six soldiers in civilian clothes bearing pistols. At that time, Upendra was eating his dinner. As he broke his leg on May 17 in an automobile accident, he was wearing a plaster cast. His parents pleaded with the soldiers not to take their son, but the soldiers said they would just enquire about something and bring him back soon.
However, Upendra disappeared. His parents went to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, and the Balaju and Chauni Barracks to find him, but in every place the personnel denied knowledge of his arrest. Finally, on June 28, a person released from Mahabir Guan Himalaya Barracks told Upendra's parents that he had shared a cell with their son for many days in the same barracks. Upon getting this news, they rushed to the barracks and asked the guards to be allowed to meet their son. The guards made some phone calls, then said that Upendra was not detained there. However, the parents insisted that their son was there and that they should meet him. The guards asked them who gave them this information, and they replied that they had got it from a person released from the army barracks. Also, the ID cards of the arresting soldiers were of the same barracks. After two hours of fruitless argument, they gave up and returned home.
On July 1, Mel Kumari Timilsena, Upendra's mother, filed a habeas corpus writ petition on behalf of her son in the Supreme Court. On July 2, the Supreme Court issued a show cause notice that the respondents should state whether the person was detained or not and what the reason was for his arrest. The respondents included the Chief District Officer, Kathmandu, Army Headquarters, and the Himalaya Barracks. The first two denied the arrest and detention but the barracks submitted that Upendra had been detained under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance 2001 under the order of the Chief District Officer, Kathmandu.
On July 23, the Supreme Court issued a release order stating that Upendra should report to the court after his release. However, Upendra was not released. On July 26, Advocacy Forum informed the National Human Rights Commission about the case and together sent a team of lawyers to Mahabir Guan Himalaya Barracks. At last, only the victim's mother was permitted to meet her son for a short time. He was finally released on the afternoon of July 28.
In another case where an order of the Supreme Court was ignored by the security forces, Jivan Shrestha, a 38-year-old permanent resident of Wana-1, Sankhuwasavha District, was arrested at his Kathmandu shop on 15 September 2004 by Royal Nepalese Army personnel deployed from Singhanath Barracks, Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur. When Jivan asked why he was being arrested and where they were taking him, the soldiers told him to shut up and did not respond to his questions. However, the army may have gone to his shop on the basis of information provided by a Kuber Rai of Panchthar District, who together with Bhola Limbu and others was accused of collecting donations for the Maoists. Bhola was also arrested at the time, as he was staying with Jivan. After searching the premises, the soldiers also took Jivan's mobile phone and 8000 rupees.
After the arrest, both Jivan and Bhola were kept at Singhanath Barracks for six days. Jivan was then produced before the Chief District Officer, Bhaktapur on September 22, who ordered him detained under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Punishment and Control) Act. He was subsequently sent to the Bhadra Bandi Griha of the Central Jail, Kathmandu.
In prison, Jivan told lawyers from Advocacy Forum that he had been tortured while in the army barracks and forced to confess to being a Maoist and being involved in extortion. A habeas corpus writ was filed on his behalf on October 7. On November 16, the Supreme Court ordered that he be released. The same afternoon the jail authorities freed him in accordance with the order, but only after his wife had signed a document that his lawyer was not permitted to see. Immediately after his release at 4:45pm, Jivan was rearrested outside the prison compound by police from Bhaktapur. He was not given an opportunity to talk with his wife or lawyer, who were both present at the time, and was put straight into a police van (registration no. Ba-A. Jha-1656). Jivan was found the following day at the District Police Office in Bhaktapur. Police inspectors at the office said that he was arrested by order of the Royal Nepalese Army, and that they did not know what the army wanted to do with him next. He was subsequently transferred back to the Singhanath Barracks.
Another writ of habeas corpus was filed in the Supreme Court on November 18, and Jivan was at last released on November 24, but only on condition that he report back to the barracks on December 15. He dutifully went with his wife and another relative on the appointed date, and was taken inside while the others were told to wait. Incredibly, after some time his wife was told that her husband would be detained again. In a desperate state, his wife went back to the barracks the following day, but was told that she could not meet her husband. Again she went on the third day, pleading for his release. At this point the soldiers told her that if she appeared before the barracks again, she too would be put inside. They also blamed her for filing habeas corpus writs in court and for telling human rights groups about what had happened to her husband. Finally, Jivan was again released, but only on the condition that he again report to the barracks, this time with written proof that the writs issued against the security forces have been withdrawn.
18. Navaraj Bhandari: Two telephones can cost a life
On 21 July 2004 soldiers from the valley command started coming to the offices of the Jugal Business Group in Mahabauddha, Kathmandu, and taking away staff for enquiries. They came first in the morning, and took five people, who were released at 1pm. Then, at 3:30pm a group of 6-7 soldiers came again and took away Navaraj Bhardari, 38, and his friend Shri Krishna Adhikary in a dark green Tata pick-up numbered 1428.
At the time of his arrest, Navaraj Bhandari had been working in the office for about one year, where he was also a shareholder. He had previously been the manager of the Tupche Cooperative, residing in Agutar, Bidur-9, Nuwakot District; however, he had left his native district along with his wife, son and three daughters because of insurgency.
Shri Krishna Adhikary was released at 6pm the same day, and was told that his friend would also be released after some time. He recalls that they were blindfolded before arriving at the place where they were interrogated. However, it took about 10-15 minutes to reach the place from their office and he guesses that the place was somewhere near Bhadra Kali temple, as they could hear the sound of bells coming from a temple. They had to climb a wooden staircase after they walked 21 steps, he remembers. The floor in the interrogation room was also made of wood. During the interrogation, they were together asked about two mobile phones that Navaraj had issued in his name but had given to two other persons, and about a donation given to the Maoists. Later, Shri Krishna Adhikary was dropped off in front of the Dashrath Stadium.
At 6:30pm the same day 7-8 partly-uniformed army personnel came to Navaraj's residence at Bagdol, Lalitpur-4, one of them wearing a mask. One asked about Navaraj's room, and they told his wife that they wanted the mobile phone from under the bed. They entered the room and found a mobile phone and phone diary. They also asked about their photo album, but his wife denied having one in the room. Then they went away with the phone and book, and said that Navaraj would return after some time. However, he never did.
19. Naniram Kafle: 'He'll be back after five days'
(AHRC UA-174-2004, 15 December 2004)
Naniram Kafle, a 23-year-old farmer residing in Nauvise-1, Thakre, Dhading District, was arrested at his house by about 50 personnel of the Joint Security Force at around 10:30am on 21 September 2004. When they arrived at the house, the troops kicked the door and shouted to open it. Some of them were in uniform while others were in plain clothes. When the scared family opened the door, they came into the house and arrested Naniram. When his family asked why he was arrested, they replied that they wanted to enquire about something from him and would release him after 4-5 days. Despite repeated queries of the family, they did not say where Naniram would be taken.
Naniram's family waited for five days but he did not return home. They then went to various police stations and army barracks, where the officers completely denied his arrest. His father, Narayan Prasad Kafle, filed a complaint about his son's disappearance at the National Human Rights Commission on October 4 (registration no. 1270). However, no serious action has been taken to investigate this matter. Naniram has not been seen since.
20. Jhurri Teli, Chail Bihari Loniya: 'Due process is too long so we don't follow it'
(AHRC UA-167-2004, 1 December 2004)
Jhurri Teli, a 16-year-old resident of Belhiya-7, Banke District, was arrested by plain clothes security forces from Nepalgunj-16 at about 7am on 9 September 2004 while on his way to get a medical check-up and buy some medicine for a headache. One person approached Jhurri and asked his name, while another approached and tied both his hands behind his back and blindfolded him. They then interrogated him for half an hour about his involvement in Maoist activities. During the interrogation, Jhurri was severely beaten. After that, they put him into an army vehicle and took him to the Western Pritana Headquarters, Imamnagar, Ranjha, Banke District, where he was illegally detained for seven days. Jhurri said that he was blindfolded and his hands were tied back most of time that he was detained in the barracks, and nobody was allowed to visit him.
After one week, on September 15 the security forces brought Jhurri to the District Police Office, Banke where he was kept for a further night. There, the police officers forced him to sign a statement that he was not allowed to read. At 10am on September 16, Jhurri was taken to the Banke Prison and on the same day received a preventive detention order signed by the Deputy of the District Administration Office on behalf of the Chief District Officer, Banke, under the Public Security Act.
Jhurri's family filed a writ of habeas corpus at the Appeals Court, Nepalgunj on September 23. On November 28, the Appeals Court found that Jhurri's detention was illegal and issued a release order. The boy's family went to the Prison along with lawyers and human rights defenders on November 29, but a team of policemen led by police inspector Rajendra Prasad Bhatta from the District Police Office, Banke came in a van (no. Ma-1 Cha-116) and took Jhurri away again when he was released at 2pm. His whereabouts since are unknown.
In a similar case, Chail Bihari Loniya, a 40 year-old farmer residing in Hirminiya-1, Banke District, was arrested at his house by personnel from Banke District Police Office at around 6am on 1 August 2004, on charges of causing a public offence. On August 27, the District Administrative Office set bail for his release and he deposited the bail amount and was released accordingly. However, as soon as he stepped out from the office where he had paid his bail amount, he was rearrested by officers from the same District Police Office and taken away. On September 1, the Chief District Officer who had released him on bail issued a three-month preventive detention order under the Public Security Act. He was then sent to Banke Prison
Chail Bihari's family filed a writ of habeas corpus on October 5 before the Appeals Court in Nepalgunj, challenging his rearrest. On November 23, the court issued a release order. Nirmala Loniya, his wife, rushed to Banke Prison and waited for her husband outside the prison yard. However, he did not emerge. The next day, November 24, his wife went to the prison and waited outside again for the whole day. Around 3:30pm, about 10 police personnel in a van (no. Ba-1 Jha-5152) came to the prison. Some of the officers were in uniform, while others were in plain clothes. They then took Chail Bihari out of the prison and took him away, in full view of his wife. His whereabouts since remain unknown.
When a team of consultants working on an access to justice project for the United Nations Development Programme in Kathmandu - including Anjana Shakya, Govinda Bandi and Sushma Joshi - went to the Banke District Police Office to enquire about the case, Superintendent of Police Gyanodraj Baidya admitted rearresting the victim. However, he became angry and reportedly said, "This man is a bloody criminal… I will not let him out even if the court orders it." He accused human rights activists of always defending criminals. A member of the team pointed out that the police must have respect for the due process of law, even if the victim has committed a crime, however the senior officer replied that "the process is too long so we don't follow it".
B. MAIMED: TORTURE IN CUSTODY
1. Deepal Thapa: Fight over a taxi fare leads to far worse
(AHRC FA-37-2003, 2 October 2003)
Deepal Thapa, a 20-year-old resident of Kathmandu, was arrested at around 9pm on 20 September 2003 while going by taxi to Koteswor, Kathmandu, to meet a relative. He and the taxi driver quarrelled about the payment and got into a fight. He ran away when a group gathered around them, and the police pursued and caught him. Two police officers in uniform proceeded to beat him on the back with the butts of their guns during the arrest. They also kicked him, forcing him to the ground. He was transported in a police van to the Wada Police Office in Koteswor. He was then taken to Hanumandhoka and to Kerkar for interrogation. There, he was beaten for 2-3 hours continuously. Two police officers beat him on his back, arms and thighs with a wooden stick and a plastic pipe. They rolled a heavy wooden pole up and down his legs and beat him with a plastic pipe on the soles of his feet. They questioned him about the theft of a watch and 700 rupees, following a claim made by the taxi driver.
Deepal was brought before a judge on 24 September 2003, but the judge did not ask him about his injuries. He did not receive any medical treatment.
2. Janaki & Chinki Chaudhary: Child rape victims
(AHRC UA-66-2003, 27 October 2003)
Janaki and Chinki Chaudhary, two 16 and 14-year-old girls of Mahadev village, Belawa-5, Bardiya District, were working as day labourers in the building construction site of the Armed Police Force in Rajhena, Banke District. On the night of 27 September 2003, both of the victims and one male worker named Sarju were sleeping in a dormitory room at the construction site when seven Armed Policemen came to their place and asked how many were in the room. The police were: Sub Inspector Judda Bahadur Shahi, Constable Upendra Khadka, Bhim Bahadur Chand, Ram Bahadur Sunar, Bhakta Bahadur Nepali, Mangit Oli and Hariji, all attached to the District Police Precinct Banke. After they found out there were two girls and one boy, the policemen entered the room, switched off the light, and threatened the male worker. Then they forced the girls to go outside with them.
The policemen took the girls to a nearby garden and gang-raped them. Three different policemen raped each of the two girls and one policeman raped both of them. All seven policemen were involved in the rape. While they were raping the girls, the policemen threatened them that they would kill both of them if they shouted or made any noise. After the rape, the policemen told the victims to go back to the dormitory and remain quiet and work as normal.
After they went back to the room, the girls explained to the male worker what had happened to them. The next morning, September 28, when the contractor came to the construction site, they explained the incident to him also. With his assistance, they reported the rape to the police station. The policemen interrogated them and recommended that they go to the District Police Precinct in Banke. On September 30, both victims went with Chinki's father, Miju Chaudhari, to the District Police Precinct, Banke, and made a complaint against the perpetrators. During their visit to Banke, the police paid for their stay in the hotel for one night and took the victims to the Kohalpur Medical College for examinations. After the complaint was made, the seven perpetrators were kept in police custody for investigation at the District Police Precinct, Banke.
On 25 October 2003, the accused men were remanded in custody. However, some police officers of the District Police Precinct suggested to the victims that they negotiate to settle the case. The perpetrators offered 5000 rupees to each girl to withdraw the complaint, and threatened that they would have some difficulties if they challenged the police. In addition, plain clothed police followed the lawyers who helped the victims to have medical examinations, and the whereabouts of the male worker who was in the dormitory with the two girls became unknown.
More seriously, the Superintendent of Police, Shri Bahadur Ghale, said that he thought the policemen had consensual sex with the girls, even though the perpetrators had at first admitted to the crime. They only denied it later, insisting that the contractor was using the two girls to make false accusations against them because of previous bad relations. However, they admitted that they visited the construction site on that day during their patrolling. Nonetheless, in a press release issued on 25 October 2003, the Armed Police Force denied that the police gang-raped the two girls. "No staff from the APF were involved in the reported rape case in Nepalgunj nor anyone of the force has been arrested on rape charges," it said.
Gang-rape by the security forces has also been increasingly reported during 2004. In another case from November in which the teenage victim cannot be identified for security reasons, five personnel out of a larger patrolling Joint Security Force unit raped a young girl as she went for a bath. After the incident they sent her back home and gave her a small amount of money and some instant noodles, telling her to not report what they did to anyone. However, when she arrived back at her house her younger brother saw blood all over her body, and informed the family. He recalls that after he heard his sister had been taken to the jungle he went to look, but when he went there the soldiers threatened him. Then
I came back out of fear, kept quiet for sometime and kept on watching the soldiers cooking food. When I came back home, after a while I saw my sister coming towards the house from the jungle with her entire body spattered with blood. I realised that the soldiers did it to my sister. When I saw her condition, I was so angry and at the same time felt ashamed and afraid. Then she went inside and slept in a room. After sometime many people gathered at home and then I went to call my parents. The soldiers had gone out of the village by then.
Her father recalls what he saw when he and his wife came to the house.
All her clothes and body had been spattered with blood. I asked what had happened and who did it. She told me that a group of five soldiers took her to the jungle, gang-raped her and then sent her back home with threats that she would not reveal the incident to anyone. Her condition was so serious and we were so anxious. We then gave her some medicines that slowed down her bleeding… Many people came to my house and the crowd remained for the entire day. I wish no one had to go through this torment.
A human rights group has since given the victim protection. She is undergoing medical treatment, and has been referred for psychological counselling also. However, attempts to get the police onto the case have been futile.
3. Tej Narayan Sapkota: Five-month ordeal ends with murder charge
Tej Narayan Sapkota, a 41-year-old reporter from Baglung-4, Baglung District, residing at Tinthana-6, Kathmandu for last 15 years was arrested at the Sarbottam Offset Printing Press at Bagbazar, Kathmandu around 12:30pm on 24 November 2003 by around eight plain clothes security personnel. The men blindfolded him and drove him around for about three hours before taking him to a room. He was forced to lie prone while still blindfolded and was continuously beaten with a bamboo stick on both soles of his feet for about five hours, during which time he fell unconscious three times. He was hung upside down by his feet and threatened with death, "like Krishna Sen", who died in custody. Finally he lost consciousness completely. When he came to he found himself in a gloomy room with his hands cuffed behind his back. His entire body felt numb from the torture.
After being confined to the room for three days, he was again tortured by being kicked with boots on his chest, legs and back. He was also starved for 13 days. He was then kept for five months. Nearing the end of this time, he was kept blindfolded for a further 22 days and tortured at an unknown place, which he guesses was Bhairav Nath Gun, near the Teaching Hospital. At the end of this ordeal he was taken to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, on 15 April 2004 and produced before the Appeal Court of Lalitpur on the same day and charged with murder under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Punishment and Control) Act. His trial began on May 21 and he has since been kept in custody at the Nakkhu Prison.
Tej was also arrested earlier during the state of emergency on allegations of Maoist links. He was released after six months when the government and Maoists started negotiations.
4. Kumar Lama & Som Lama: 'Name your friends'
Kumar Lama, a 15-year-old seller from Tistungpalung-4, Makwanpur District, residing at Lazimpath, Kathmandu, for over eight years, was arrested in Taku at 11am on 29 December 2003 and taken to the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka. According to Kumar, he was sitting in the shop where he works when two plain clothed policemen came and arrested him. He was brought to Hanumandhoka in a police van, and taken to the interrogation section, where he was beaten for half an hour. The police beat him with a wooden stick on his back, soles and chest. At 10pm that night he was taken to the interrogation section again and beaten for about two hours. Similar beatings continued over about four days, for half an hour each day. While beating him they told him to admit to committing theft, and to name his friends.
Som Lama, a 25-year-old driver and brother of Kumar, also residing at Lazimpath with his family for the last couple of years, was arrested at his house around midnight on 1 January 2004 by six plain clothed police who took him to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka. At the interrogation section there he was tortured for about one-and-a-half hours. The police slapped him on his cheeks and beat him on his palms, soles and back with plastic pipes. He was made to squat and had both arms tied in front of his knees and his legs tied together with a pole inserted between the thigh and calves. After that, his body was turned so that he was feet-upwards, and his soles were severely beaten. He was asked to give the names of his brother's friends. The police stopped beating him when he told them that he had been undergoing Paralysis Treatment in the Teaching Hospital.
Both brothers were presented in court on 14 January 2004 on charges of robbery. The judge did not ask them about torture and nor were they provided any kind of medical treatment.
5. Bharat Lama: Beaten all over
Bharat Lama, a 36-year-old labourer from Boudha, Kathmandu was arrested by plain clothes police of the Ward Police Office, Boudha on 3 January 2004. According to Bharat,
On the day of my arrest I was working in the workshop situated in front of the Ward Police Office. A plain clothed police officer came and took me to the police office. There I was beaten for about 10-15 minutes. They beat and kicked me on my neck, thighs, soles and hands with a wooden stick and boots. They asked me the reason why I beat my wife. I still feel pain on my neck and have a fever.
Bharat was kept in the Ward Police Office for a day and then transferred to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka. He was produced at the District Administrative Office, Kathmandu on 6 January 2004 on the charge of committing a public offence. He was not asked about torture when produced at the administration office, and did not receive medical treatment.
Another person detained at the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka in January who cannot be identified for security reasons described to a visiting lawyer how he was also beaten first at his residence and then at the office, by three plain clothed officers accusing him of petty crime. Like Bharat, he was beaten with a wooden stick on his back, arms, thighs and calves, in his case over a number of days, in order to have him implicate his friends. Like Bharat, there was no interest shown in his condition by other authorities, including the courts, nor was any medical attention given, despite provisions under the Torture Compensation Act that allow for it.
6. Prem Bahadur Tamang & two friends: Uninvited lunch guests
Prem Bahadur Tamang is a 28-year-old businessman from Nagdaha-3 in Ramechhap District residing at Chabahil for over four years until he was at arrested around 4pm on 10 January 2004 while having lunch with his friends Krishna Khadka and Mahendra Thapa. According to Prem Bahadur, around eight plain clothes security personnel came and called them over, after which they were immediately pushed into a van and blindfolded. Around 45 minutes later they were thrown into a room and were beaten there for 2-3 hours, with hands tied behind their backs. They were beaten on their backs, thighs and soles with sticks. They were told to confess to involvement with the Maoists, but after they denied involvement continuously, the beatings stopped.
After 13 days, some representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross came and their blindfolds were removed until the group left. Then they discovered that they were being detained at the Maharajgunj Barracks, Bhairab Nath Gan.
After 26 days, Prem Bahadur was taken to the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka, and produced before the Chief District Officer's office, Kathmandu on February 6.
7. Tikaram Khanal, Santosh Thapa, Umesh Ghimire: Assume the position
Tikaram Khanal, a 32-year-old farmer from Dalanchaur-2, Gulmi District, who has been living at Gaushala, Kathmandu for over four years was arrested at around 3am on 14 February 2004 in Kusunti, Lalitpur District and taken to the Ward Police Office of Gaushala. According to Tikaram, an inspector there slapped him when he denied that he had stolen money, causing him to fall down. Once on the ground, the inspector began kicking him repeatedly on his back with his boots. After that, he called three other policemen, who tied his hands and legs together on a pole, beat him with plastic pipes, and forced him to jump up and down while tied in the squatting position.
Tikaram was kept at the office for two days before being taken to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka and being produced in the District Court of Kathmandu on February 16, charged with theft. When he was produced before the court he had serious physical injuries, and he was asked about the torture, but was not given any medical treatment until after February 27, due to legal intervention on his behalf.
The method of tying a person into a squatting position with a pole between the legs supported by the wrists is popular among police torturers in Nepal. Another person tortured similarly at the Gaushala Ward Police Office was Santosh Thapa, an 18-year-old welder from Hatbazar-8 of Butwal District residing in Koteswor, Kathmandu for over six years, who was arrested at his house by 10-15 ununiformed police at around 7am on 9 March 2004. While in police custody, his hands and legs were similarly tied together; he was beaten on his back, legs and soles for half an hour and he was also forced to jump repeatedly. He was taken to Hanumandhoka District Police Office on the same day and produced before the District Court of Kathmandu on March 10 on the charge of robbery. He was not asked anything about his torture by the judge, and received no medical treatment.
At the Jan Sewa police station, Umesh Ghimire, a 21-year-old CD shop owner from Chandra Nighahapur, Rautahat District residing in Tinkune, Kathmandu also received the same kind of treatment. After being arrested by police officers in Tahachal on 6 June 2004 as he was returning home from a friend's house, four plain clothes officers took him to the Jan Sewa Ward Police Office. He was kept there for two days and beaten three times. Each time before they began the police bound his hands to his knees and inserted a bamboo rod under his knees, after which they beat him with bamboo on his feet, thighs, back and other body parts. During the torture they asked him if he was the one possessing a rifle. After two days he was sent to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka and produced to the Chief District Officer on June 8 on charges of illegal arms and ammunition possession. Other testimonies speak to the same practice.
8. Gobinda Rawat, Dinesh Pandit: Waylaid at the bus stop
Gobinda Rawat, a 20-year-old carpenter from Barabishe-6, Sindupalchok District, residing at Gattaghar, Bhaktapur for over three years, was arrested at 1pm on 20 February 2004 at a bus stop, where he was waiting to catch a bus to Gokad to meet his friend. However, he did not know that the Royal Nepalese Army had already detained his friend and was searching for him and two others. He was captured and taken in handcuffs to the Narayanstan Barracks, where he was kept blindfolded and handcuffed for three days.
During that time, beginning from mid-day on February 21, he was beaten with a stick on his back, thighs and stomach for about half an hour continuously, while restrained and blindfolded. He was accused of being a Maoist and asked about the places from where he stole money. Finally, he was taken to the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka, Kathmandu in the evening of February 23, and produced in the District Court the next day. He was treated for injuries caused by the torture in Bir Hospital.
Dinesh Pandit, a 21-year-old student from Gongabu, Kathmandu was also arrested at a bus stop, at around 4pm on 3 August 2004, at the New Bus Park, by a group of plain clothed police. At the time he was taking a friend's broken motorbike for repairs. After his arrest he was taken to the Ward Police Office, Maharajgunj where about five policemen tortured him for half an hour. He was particularly beaten on his soles, back and hands with sticks and plastic pipes, and was not provided any food that day. After being illegally detained in the Ward Police Office for four days he was sent to the investigation section at Hanumandhoka on August 8, where again he was beaten on his soles, back, chest, stomach and head with sticks for about 15-20 minutes. While he was being beaten he was asked about a theft. He was produced to the District Court of Kathmandu on 9 August 2004 on the charge of the same.
9. Sabita Lama & other cases: Extraordinarily brutal torture of women
Sabita Lama, an 18-year-old hostel warden is a permanent resident of Sunardavi-1, Nuwakot District, residing at Mahankal, Kathmandu for the last two years who was arrested at her house around 7pm on 14 March 2004 by five uniformed officers of the Ward Police Office, Boudha. There, she was beaten for two days with sticks on her soles, back, legs and thighs. She was beaten continuously each time over about four hours with 10-15 minute breaks every half an hour. During the beatings her hands were kept tied behind her back.
On March 26, Sabita was brought to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka and produced before the District Court the following day to be remanded in custody on human trafficking charges. She was asked about torture when produced before the court, and the judge ordered medical treatment. Although the police took her to hospital, she was taken back without a proper medical examination. A lawyer visiting her in custody noted physical injuries on her body, and that she was weak and in poor health, suffering from dizziness, having difficulty walking, and fearful when faced by police. After further intervention, she was given medical treatment. However, after her first court hearing on April 21 she was ordered back into custody, and sent to the Sadarkhor Prison, Dillibazaar.
Extraordinary torture of women by the security forces in Nepal also appears commonplace. Advocacy Forum has details of numerous cases in which the victims cannot be identified for security reasons. In one such case from around February, the 20-year-old victim was taken to a barracks after being accused of being a Maoist, which she denied. The officer in charge of her interrogation then ordered his men to assault her, saying that, "She will not speak without a beating." After this, she had her head dunked into water, and had water poured on her head while being beaten on her back for about half an hour. When she did not speak, they began assaulting her with a plastic pipe. The torture continued twice per day over six days, once in the morning and once in the evening. On the third day, she recalls,
As I still did not speak, one soldier slit my knees and feet with a sharp blade and sprinkled salt and chilli powder on those lacerations on orders of the major. I wailed in pain but they turned their ears deaf. As I used to scream during the torture, they always fed me some sort of drug before beating me…
Starting on the fifth day, two soldiers took turns to rape me, which continued for 10-15 days. Before raping me, they would force me to take medicine. They tore all my clothes and used to play with my private parts often, while my eyes were blindfolded… They would plunge onto me and rape me in the night on my tired and tortured body.
After she was then used to secure the arrest of another girl, they were both brought back and beaten again, in separate rooms. Finally, she was handed over to the police, and then sent to prison.
In a similar case from around the same time, the victim was accused of being a Maoist, with the security forces saying things like, "Tell us the places that you have bombed." She was ordered to stay in a room for three hours, after which she recalls that
They joined wires in my both ears and gave an electric shock every 10 minutes. I cut my tongue and lips due to the shock and I almost lost consciousness after 2-3 shocks. Then they again beat me for about an hour till 4-5 sticks went to pieces. I was then taken to another room where there were three girls at the side. We were not allowed to speak and they did not give me any food for that whole day.
After two days they repeated the torture.
I fell on the floor due to their kicks. As they thought I had died, one of them ordered, "Dump this dead body," and I was taken back to the room where I was sleeping. They periodically entered my room to assess my state and assumed that I had died; however, when later they found me alive, they did not do anything.
After a few more days, she was driven to a relative's house and told not to disclose anything about what had happened to her.
10. Ruk Prasad Bhurtal: Glued to the floor due to nosebleed
Ruk Prasad Bhurtal, a 40-year-old civil servant and permanent resident of Pargatinagar-6, Laxmipur, Nowalparasi District, residing in Ravibhawan, Kathmandu was arrested by ununiformed Royal Nepalese Army personnel around 5pm on 16 March 2004, as he was walking back to his house. Ruk says he was coming along Soltimode Road from Kalimati, after buying some vegetables, when around eight soldiers in plain clothes forced him into a taxi. In the car, a soldier gripped him by the neck and forced his head between his knees. He was taken to a barracks, where he was blindfolded and led into a room where around four army personnel beat him with a plastic pipe and wooden stick, and kicked him with their boots on his legs, back and thighs regularly for about half an hour.
On March 21 they repeated the torture, when at around 7pm about six soldiers came into the room and surrounded him. They kicked him in turns for a period of one hour and the blows he received on the back of his head caused his nose to bleed. They also hit his back and stamped heavily on his thighs while he lay prone. He fell unconscious and woke the next day to find that the blood pouring from his nose had caused his face to stick to the carpet. A soldier came in and brutally tore his face from the coarse material. A barracks doctor came later that day to treat him.
Ruk was brought to the Hanumandhoka District Police Office in Kathmandu at around 9pm on April 15 and produced before the Appeals Court of Lalitpur the next day, charged with murder under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Punishment and Control) Act. He was remanded in Nakkhu Prison after the hearing on his case on May 21.
The torture left scars all over Ruk's body, particularly his legs. The constant beatings to his head also means that he is having trouble remembering everything that happened to him in detention, and even thinking at all.
11. Ghana Shyam K C: Call for help leads to more trouble
Ghana Shyam K C, a 26-year-old from Jyamire-6, Sindhupalchok who had been residing in Chabahil, Kathmandu for over two years, was an employee of the World Women's International Network Organization located at Sanepa, Lalitpur District. At around 8:30pm on 27 March 2004 he was unexpectedly assaulted by about 15 unidentified persons while having his meal at a friend's house in Banepa. They beat him all over his body and accused him of cooperating with his boss in being corrupt while recruiting staff for the office. He was cut under his right eye and had a severe injury to his nose. He was bleeding all over. After beating him, the assailants took his official documents, bracelet, mobile phone and wallet. As it was dark, Ghana could not recognize them. However, after he managed to call the Area Police Office, Banepa to report the incident, the police who arrived ten minutes later to his utter surprise took him into custody; he has concluded that the assailants were probably also police.
Ghana was kept at the Area Police Office for two days. There, he repeatedly requested medical treatment but was denied it. Then he was sent to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, on March 30, charged with fraud. He was remanded on 2 April 2004. During the hearing the judge asked whether or not the police had tortured him and he said yes. The judge immediately ordered the police to take him for medical treatment. On April 18, he was taken to hospital and given some general treatment. The doctor said that his nasal septum has been severely damaged and the surgery cost would come to at least 50,000 rupees. Meanwhile, he has continued to suffer respiratory problems and other physical pains while in custody.
12. Narayan Nepali, Mandhwoj Jimba: Electrocuted in army barracks
Narayan Nepali, a 24-year-old driver and permanent resident of Challing-6, Bhaktapur District, was arrested along with a friend by soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army from Jagadal Barracks, Chauni at around 3am on 31 March 2004 while he was sleeping in a guesthouse in Thamel, Kathmandu. He was taken to the Jagadal Barracks, but his friend was taken elsewhere.
On the day following his arrest he was brought to a dark room where soldiers blindfolded him and tortured him with electric shocks on his forehead for half an hour. He cried from pain but the torture did not subside. Instead, about six soldiers handcuffed his hands behind his back and beat him with plastic pipes over his entire body, and especially on his back, for another half an hour, until he fell into unconsciousness. He was then taken to the army hospital and given four injections. After four days, two soldiers arrived in the evening and again beat his entire body with a plastic pipe and a bamboo stick for about half an hour.
He was taken to the District Police Office in Kathmandu at around 3pm on April 23, and produced to the District Court of Kathmandu on April 26 on drug charges. When produced before the court he was asked about torture, and the judge ordered that he be provided with medical treatment. The police took him to the hospital; however, he did not get proper care. Intervention by a lawyer resulted in getting him further medical assistance.
Another person electrocuted at the Jagadal Barracks was Mandhwoj Jimba, a 26-year-old company staff person from Kalpabriksha-6, Sindhuli District residing in Balaju for over two years who was arrested at around 7:30pm on 5 June 2004 at his rented room in Balaju by about six ununiformed soldiers from the Jagadal Barracks. According to Mandhwoj, he was brought blindfolded to the barracks and kept that way for the roughly 35 days he was illegally detained there. On the very first day, he was beaten on his thighs, back, calves and soles of his feet with batons and boots for about two hours. This was followed with a few rounds of electric shocks. The beatings continued routinely for the time he was in the barracks, and he was not fed until the third day. During the beatings he was asked about his involvement in robberies at Chhetrapati and other places. When he denied the charges, he was beaten again. Finally Mandhwoj was transferred to the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka on 9 July 2004 and subsequently produced to the Kathmandu District Court on a charge of robbery. Six other persons were charged over the same case.
The use, or threat to use, electric torture is not confined to the Royal Nepalese Army personnel. A person detained at the Hanumandhoka District Police Office in May 2004, who for security reasons cannot be identified, alleges that while being beaten with plastic pipes he was threatened that if he did not confess he would be electrocuted until he became handicapped as a result. Others whose stories also cannot be told publicly have attested to the routine use of electric shocks interchanged with beatings over many days leading to intense physical and psychological damage.
13. Hyango Lama: Hung upside down and whipped
Hyango Lama, the 50-year-old owner of the World Peace Hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu was arrested at his hotel by at least 70 soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army from the Jagadal Barracks of Chauni, Kathmandu on the charge of drug trafficking at the start of April 2004. He recalls that
On the day of my arrest I was sitting in my restaurant along with my family members and guests when 70-80 armed soldiers in uniform arrived at my hotel around 10pm and started searching all the rooms. They eventually discovered 35kgs of hashish accumulated by Ashok Gurung, a regular customer of mine who had been staying at my hotel as a guest. After the drugs were seized, two soldiers came to my room and interrogated me. When I said I did not know anything, they instantly held me, my son Tashi, and five other hotel staff. We were then loaded onto a vehicle and driven to the Jagadal Barracks, where we were confined for 24 days.
After being blindfolded as soon as the vehicle reached the garrison, Hyango Lama was kicked all over his body with boots. Then he was forced to lie down on the floor and his hands and legs were bound. The soldiers then again started beating him on his soles with a pipe or stick for about half an hour, occasionally crushing his genitals with their boots.
The following day, Hyango Lama was taken to a dark room, hung upside down and whipped for about two hours on his legs, chest and back. He was asked, "Where did you get the drugs from? How much did you earn from this business? We will kill you if you don't tell us the facts." During this time, the soldiers also seized his wallet, mobile phone and wristwatch. After getting a forced confession, the soldiers stopped torturing him and handed him over to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka. In total, 24 days had passed. The police produced him in court on April 27 for remand.
When a lawyer visited Hyango Lama while he was in custody at Hanumandhoka, his health condition was critical as he had been beaten almost to death. Due to the beating on his pelvis and genitals he had not urinated for a week. His left cheek was so swollen that he was unable to open his mouth even to consume medicine.
The police took him to Bir Hospital for his medical treatment twice, from where he was referred to the Teaching Hospital. The x-rays conducted there revealed that his left thumb was fractured and he had a renal problem due to the urinary blockage.
14. Jimdar & Keshu Ram Kewat: Out of one cell and into another
(AHRC UA-127-2004, 28 September 2004)
Jimdar Kewat, a 16-year-old resident of Betahani-5, Banke District was arrested by soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army from Kali Dal Gana (Kalidal Battalion) No. 2 Field, Barracks Fultekra, Nepalgunj, Banke District along with his 50-year-old father Keshu Ram Kewat, at night on 15 April 2004. After their arrest they were blindfolded and loaded into an army vehicle and taken to the Fultekra Barracks. There they were kept blindfolded for four days and were beaten with wooden sticks and electricity cables on their backs and soles of their feet for about 10 minutes each day. The army personnel also poured water down their noses and told them to provide information related to the Maoists, about which they did not know anything. For one-and-a-half months they were kept in illegal detention at the army barracks without access to anyone or medical attention.
On May 31, the army handed the two over to the Banke District Police Office and they were given a three-month preventive detention order under the Public Security Act, signed by the Chief District Officer on the same day. The father and son were then to taken to the Banke Central Prison where they have been detained since.
On July 1, a writ of habeas corpus was filed on their behalf in the Nepalgunj Appeals Court, and on September 19 the court ordered them released. However, when lawyers and the family went to the prison, the authorities refused to release them, saying that they had not received the court order. The group then waited in front of the jail until the end of office hours. Still the officials maintained that they had not received the court release order. When the lawyers and family came back the next day they learned that the boy and his father had been taken out of the prison and immediately rearrested by a team of security forces. One of the jail officials told them that the victims were taken by the Banke police, so they went to the Banke District Police Office but the officers on duty denied rearresting the two.
On September 20, lawyers from Advocacy Forum found the two in Wada Police Office, Nepalgunj. When they tried to intervene, another preventive detention order was issued to keep them in detention. Further efforts are under way to free the father and son.
15. Sahdev Gurung, Sudip Thapamagar: 'Tell us about the theft'
Sahdev Gurung, a 23-year-old painter from Nirmalbasti-8, Parsa District, was arrested when police stopped him while riding a motorbike in Koteswor, Kathmandu at around 11am on 25 April 2004. He was taken to the Ward Police Office where three policemen beat him for 3-4 hours with batons, iron rods and plastic-sheathed wire on his back, thighs, and legs. They also inserted a pin under the nails of his hands. They continued to beat him for six days, around 15 minutes each time, roughly once per day. During the torture he was asked about a theft that happened at Mahadevsthan. He admitted to buying a television that had been stolen, but said he knew nothing about the theft.
Sahdev was transferred to the District Police Office of Hanumandhoka on April 30 and produced to the court on May 17 charged with theft. He did not obtain any medical treatment after the abuse.
Sudip Thapamagar, a 17-year-old manual labourer from Mahaboudha, Kathmandu, was also arrested together with four friends on theft charges in May 2004 by ten plain clothes police and was kept in the Sorhakhutte Ward Police Office for five days. During the arrest, one officer beat him on his back for five minutes with his friend's belt. During three days at the police station he was beaten with a wooden stick on his thighs, calves and palms of his hands for 10-15 minutes at a time, while being asked about a robbery that occurred in Thamel. When he tried to escape from the beatings, his head was cracked open with a baton.
He was later transferred to the Hanumandhoka District Police Office, and given treatment at the Bir Hospital on May 14, but the costs of treatment were deducted from his food allowance.
16. Aakash Lama, Ram Jeven Chaudhary: Hit with iron rods upon arrest
Aakash Lama, an 18 year-old permanent resident of Kulekhani-7, Makwanpur District, residing in Nakhu Lalitpur, was arrested on the street in Balaju at around 9:30pm on 27 April 2004 by two or three plain clothes police who hit him on the head with an iron rod until he fell unconscious. When he came to, he was in the Sorhakhutte Ward Police Office, and the police again began attacking him, kicking his nose, mouth, chest, and back. They then covered his mouth and nose and continuously splashed water over his face for five minutes, nearly suffocating him. They also beat his back, legs and soles of his feet with bamboo. He was then not fed for three days, and when required to give a statement he was beaten on his hands and back.
After he was brought to the District Police Office in Hanumandhoka on May 6 the police took him to hospital but adequate treatment was not provided, and the police deducted six days from his food allowance ostensibly for the cost of his medical treatment. He was produced before the District Court to be remanded on a robbery charge on 7 May 2004. He obtained further medical treatment through intervention by a lawyer.
Another person who was assaulted from the moment of arrest was Ram Jeven Chaudhary, a 35-year-old businessman and permanent resident of Jabdi-7, Sharlai District, residing for five years in Balaju, Kathmandu. Four police from the Balaju Ward Police Office attacked Ram Jeven in his shop at around 10am on 17 May 2004. They beat him with an iron rod on his right hand and left arm, back and legs, and kicked him on his back with their boots. Two policemen then kicked and hit his legs and thighs with their boots and batons and one policeman punched him in the mouth at least eight times.
Ram Jeven was taken to Hanumandhoka at around 8pm on the same day. He was produced before the District Court for a remand extension on the charge of robbery on 18 May 2004. After legal intervention to obtain medical treatment, the court ordered on May 25 that he be given the necessary attention within three days, after which he was taken to hospital.
17. Suresh Shrestha, Bikash Tamang, Rajendra Balami: Victims of the interrogation section
Many detainees of the investigation and interrogation sections at Hanumandhoka District Police Office have similar accounts of routine torture. One was Suresh Shrestha, an 18-year-old fruit seller from Sigarkathi, Nuwakot-6, Nuwakot District residing in Sanepa, Lalitpur. Nine plain clothed police arrested Suresh in his room at around 9pm on 29 June 2004, and took him for interrogation to Hanumandhoka. There he was beaten for about five days. On the first day, he was beaten and kicked only on his legs, torso, soles and arms for about 20-30 minutes. Everytime he yelped out in pain a policeman would try to shove his boot inside his mouth saying that his cries would perturb his superior. After being illegally detained for 14 days, Suresh was produced in the court on 13 July 2004 on the charge of causing a public offence.
Bikash Tamang, a 22-year-old labourer and permanent resident of Palung-1, Makwanpur District, residing in Sitapaila, Kathmandu for over two months was also sent for interrogation at Hanumandhoka after arrest by over ten plain clothes police at around 11am on 30 July 2004 at Chikanmughal, Kathmandu. Bikash was picked up after a friend who had also been detained there gave his name while being tortured. Bikash was handcuffed, forced to sit on the floor and bound to a post in a squatting position. He was whirled around and beaten on both his soles for over ten minutes, then forced to lie face down on the floor and beaten on his buttocks and calves with a baton. His palms were also hit. After ten days in detention he was produced at the District Court of Kathmandu on August 9 on a charge of robbery. He was returned to detention at the District Police Office.
Similarly, Rajendra Balami (a.k.a.) Raju Shrestha, an 18-year-old cook from Chitlang, Makwanpur District, residing in Kathmandu for nine years was arrested at his rented room at around 9pm on 30 July 2004 by uniformed police who came from the Kalimati Ward Police Office by van. The police took him back to Kalimati where they beat him on his back, legs, soles and arms with sticks for about half an hour. He was asked whether he had committed any theft. He was not provided any food, and the next day was sent to the investigation section at Hanumandhoka where he was again beaten and kicked all over his body for at least 20 minutes with a plastic pipe and boots. He was held there illegally for four days, and produced in court only on 2 August 2004 on the charge of theft.
Another person detained at the station in January who cannot be identified for security reasons stated that he was beaten from the time of arrest, and that beatings with sticks and belts continued like clockwork for an hour per day over four days. During this time he was also not fed, and blindfolded throughout the torture in the interrogation section.
18. Ku Maya Tamang, Gnagaram Laghu: Drugs made them do it
Ku Maya Tamang, a 36-year-old permanent resident of Sharatung-6, Dhading District, residing in Samakhusi, Kathmandu for the last six years, was arrested at her teashop around 8am on 4 August 2004 by police who found drugs under a table in her shop. According to Ku Maya, she was at her teashop with her daughter that morning when an unknown teenage girl came and asked for a cup of tea. As Ku Maya was making it, the girl disappeared and suddenly four police were there. They seized a small bag containing drugs from underneath a table and asked her about the girl. When Ku Maya said she knew nothing about her, the police arrested her and took her to a place in Maharajgunj where they said, "Give us 400,000 rupees if you wish to be freed, or else you will be processed further". The amount was so high that Ku Maya promptly replied that she didn't have anything to give them. Two of the police then took her to the Anamnagar Ward Police Office. Inside, four police, including two female officers, rained blows on her with plastic pipes simultaneously all over her body for about 20 minutes. After the beatings, they tied her legs together, forced her to lie flat on the floor and dragged her outside the room by her feet, causing her to fall unconscious. After she came to, she was forced to walk into another room, and finally taken to the District Police Office, Hanumandhoka on the same day. She was produced to the Kathmandu District Court on 9 August 2004 after being illegally detained in Hanumandhoka for five days.
As a result of the torture, Ku Maya suffers from dizziness, burning soles, blurred vision, walking difficulty and sometimes loss of sensation in her feet. After legal intervention on August 9, she was able to get some medical attention. Meanwhile, her daughter reported that after her arrest two police came back to the teashop on the same day, broke a shelf and took 25,000 rupees.
Gnagaram Laghu, a 34-year-old construction materials trader from Bhaktapur-10, Bhaktapur District, was also arrested on drug charges. He was taken by police in Balaju at around 4pm on 8 August 2004 and sent to the Ward Police Office of Hanumandhoka the same night, before being produced in the district court of Kathmandu on August 10, a day after Ku Maya.
In Gnagaram's case, he was arrested after being called to the residence of a customer. When he arrived there, he found several policemen inside searching the house. The landlady was not there. Three uniformed police stopped him, and one punched him in the mouth. They put him in a van and took him to the investigation section at Hanumandhoka, where he was beaten over three days. On the first night he was beaten for one-and-a-half hours with belts, batons and plastic pipes on his back, buttocks and soles. His hands were tied to his lower legs while in a squatting position, and a baton kept locked between his legs and wrists, after which his whole body was revolved, causing vertigo. He was blindfolded while being tortured. On the third day a stick was pushed into his mouth. His chin was also pushed up with a stick, and his index finger and thumb were forced open with a stick in order to get his prints.
19. Man, Nar & Ratna Bahadur Budhamagar & wife, & Tek Bahadur: Rape, torture, murder and rearrest for 'defaming the army'
(AHRC UA-121-2004, 21 September 2004)
Man Bahadur Budhamagar, his two brothers, Nar Bahadur Budhamagar and Ratna Bahadur Budhamagar, and Ratna's wife were arrested by a Joint Security Force team from the Majaha Gaon Barracks, Mahendra Nagar, Kanchanpur District that came to Basneuta-4, Dhadeldhura District at around 6:30am on 17 August 2004. The troops accused the brothers of being Maoists and assaulted them with sticks, fists, guns and boots. They beat Ratna's wife, dragged her out of her house and raped her near the cattle enclosure. They then killed Ratna and Nar Bahadur near the house, and took away Man Bahadur Budhamagar, Tek Bahadur Dhami and Tarami Thapa. The last of the three was released on the same day, but Man and Tek Bahadur were taken to the Majaha Gaon Barracks.
Man Bahadur Budhamagar was illegally detained at the barracks until September 2. According to him, army personnel severely assaulted him daily while inquiring about Maoist rebels and the whereabouts of Maoist leaders of which he knew nothing. The army released him with an order to come to the District Administration Office of the barracks on September 12. After being released, Man Bahadur received medical treatment with the help of a human rights group that is taking care of his sister-in-law.
On September 12, Man Bahadur went to the District Administration Office as he was ordered and was told to come back on September 16. As he was on his way there at around 12:30pm on that day, army personnel stopped him and put him into a van. Then they blindfolded him and again took him to the Majaha Gaon Barracks. They accused him of defaming the Royal Nepalese Army by reporting what happened to him to human rights groups, and put him back into detention, denying access to his family and others.
20. Ganesh Kshetri: 'He fell down'
(AHRC UA-117-2004, 14 September 2004)
Ganesh Kshetri, a 44-year-old resident of Kathmandu-16, Balaju was arrested at his house around 7pm on 27 August 2004 by assistant sub-inspector B Pande and one police constable from the Balaju Ward Police Office, both of whom were in plain clothes. When Ganesh's father asked the police the reason for his son's arrest, the police replied that they had a new chief at the police station and he wanted to ask some questions to him. They promised that they would send him back soon after the enquiry finished.
The police first took Ganesh Kshetri to the Banasthali temporary police post where they kept him for ten minutes until ten more police came in a police pick-up van and brought him to the Balaju Ward Police Office. At the police station, the police gave him a blanket saying that he had to stay at the police station overnight, as the chief would come to the police station the next morning. There were six more persons in the room.
At 10:30am the next morning, Sub Inspector (SI) Uttam K C called Ganesh and started to beat him brutally with a pole and kicked him all over his body with his boots, without asking anything. Other officers joined in, and he soon fell unconscious. When he was woken up, Ganesh saw his blood around the room and he was still bleeding at the nose. The police came to the room several times to check whether he had stopped bleeding or not. They looked worried that he was continuously bleeding. At around 1pm they called his father to the station to take his son. When the father asked why his son was seriously injured, the police said that he fainted and fell down because of illness. However, Ganesh is a healthy man with no medical record of any serious illness.
The police released Ganesh on the condition of a 450 rupee fine. They said he was reported to be a drug addict so they wanted to investigate him. However, Ganesh claims that the police made up the story to justify their actions. The police also threatened him and his father not to report anything to the media otherwise they would torture him again in the same way. They have been checking up on his house since.
Ganesh was treated at the B & B Hospital at Gwarko, Lalitpur from August 29 to August 31. His nose and ribs were broken and he lost two teeth due to the beatings. The doctor put five stitches in his nose. Also, his face was so swollen that he could not recognise himself. He also had dried blood in his eyes, and is experiencing ongoing severe back pains. According to his relatives, Ganesh is also suffering serious mental problems because of the torture. He has strong headaches and sometimes suddenly forgets where he is and what he is doing. He always tries to hide himself because of fear; his face has been so damaged that he tries to avoid seeing himself.
Posted on 2005-01-11