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ACHR condemns arrest of former Nepalese Ministers

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 13 (UNI) The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today condemned the arrest of five former ministers of Nepal under the preventive detention laws and urged the Koirala government not to misuse the Public Safety Act and the Public Offences Act against former Ministers and uphold the rule of law.

The government of Nepal had yesterday had ordered arrest of five former Ministers - former Home Minister Kamal Thapa, former Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey, former minister of state for Information and Communications Shrish Shumsher Rana, former minister for Local Development Tanka Dhakal, and former Assistant Minister for Health Nikshya Shumsher Rana.

''While the dismissal of Inspector General of the Nepal Police, Shyam Bhakta Thapa, Inspector General of the Armed Police Force, Shahabir Thapa, and NID head Devi Ram Sharma is indispensable to prevent destruction, tampering of evidence and misuse of official powers, the arrest of the ministers under the Public Safety Act is unwarranted. The government should have waited the conclusion of the Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi Commission of Inquiry before making any arrest of the former Ministers for alleged violations of human rights,''ACHR Director Suhas Chakma said.

The Public Safety Act or the Public Offences Act must not be used to throttle the freedom of expression. All accused must be arrested under normal law of the land such as Muluki Ain, he added.

The Public Safety Act and the Public Offences Act are instruments of the monarchy of Nepal that have been consistently used to suppress the pro-democracy uprisings. However, the democratic governments of Nepal failed to repeal these draconian acts and presently using the same legislation. Thousands of peoples including pro-democracy activists have been held without trial under these draconian preventive detention laws.

ACHR has urged the government of Nepal to repeal the Public Safety Act and Public Offences Act, and suspend the Royal Nepal Army Chief, Pyar Jung Thapa for a fair inquiry.

''The Inquiry Commission must bear in mind that all the illegal acts and human rights violations have been done under the leadership of King Gyanendra as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and investigate the chain of command accordingly,''Mr Chakma said.

UNI AJ VD HT1457

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