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Right Groups condemn use of excessive force

Written by: Staff

Kathmandu, Apr 11 (UNI) International Human Rights organisations have called on Royal government in Nepal to rein in the ongoing crackdown by the security forces and exercise restraint while dealing with anti-royal protesters.

''Rather than justifying the use of excessive force, the government should ensure that the police and army act within the law to protect people's lives,'' said Purna Sen, Asia Pacific Director of Amnesty International (AI) in a statement issued today.

Mr Sen said restricting peaceful demonstrations by ban orders and curfews and arbitrarily arresting hundreds of people only ''enflames an already volatile situation.'' Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the Himalayan nation, defying the curfew, demanding the end of autocratic rule of King Gyanendra.

Me Sen said over 1000 demonstrators have been detained over the past week and called on the government to uphold the right to peaceful political protest.

Mr Sen said the government must start impartial investigations into the allegations of the misuse of force or firearms by the security forces, adding, ''Affected families deserve justice and compensation.'' Meanwhile, New York- based Committee to Protect Journalists, deplored the use of force against journalists.

''As the death toll in these protests rises, the presence of journalists is a crucial safeguard of accountability,'' said Ann Cooper, Executive Director, CPJ .

Scores of journalists have been arrested and beaten in the latest crackdown, said Mr Cooper.

''We deplore the use of force against the media, and call on Nepal's government to ensure that security forces act with restraint,'' added Mr Cooper.

Reporters Without Borders, a French press-freedom group also urged the government to allow all the journalists to move about freely and stop arresting them.

The group also called on the authorities to release those 20 journalists who were still in custody out of a total of 97 held.


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