PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 31/17/99
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 20 appeals per section.
Further information on EXTRA 125/99 (ASA 31/13/99, 8 September 1999) -
Disappearance / Fear of Torture 3 December 1999
NEPALBishnu Pukar Shrestha, school teacher and human rights defender
Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned for the safety of Bishnu
Pukar Shrestha who is reported to be held in unacknowledged detention at the
Maharajgunj Police Training Academy, Kathmandu, an unofficial place of
detention, where he may be at risk of torture and possibly death.
Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, a secondary school teacher, was reportedly arrested
on 2 September 1999 at Satumangal, Kathmandu. Witnesses saw six men in civilian
dress, believed to be police officers, force him into a Maruti Gypsy jeep with
black tinted windows.
In a hearing in the Supreme Court in response to a writ of habeas corpus (a
writ to produce a prisoner in person in order to establish the legality of
detention) filed by relatives of Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, the authorities denied
he had been taken into custody. At a further hearing, witnesses of his arrest
gave their testimony and the judge ordered the Transport Department to reveal
the name of the owner of the jeep. The owner, Dr Raj Kumar Agrawal, has now
been ordered to attend the next court hearing, the date of which has not been
Amnesty International delegates visiting the country in November expressed
grave concern about the case to both the Inspector General of Police and the
Home Secretary. The Inspector General told the delegates that he would find
out if Bishnu Pukar Shrestha was detained at the Maharajgunj Police Training
Academy and that, if he was, he would take action, since it is illegal to hold
people there. He also assured the delegates that he would inform them of the
outcome of his inquiries. To date, this has not happened.
Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, also a qualified lawyer, is a member of the Nepal Bar
Association and the People’s Rights Concern Movement (PRCM), a human rights
organization. He has taken part in fact-finding missions to investigate reports
of human rights violations in the context of the Maoist “people’s war”, declared
in 1996. He has been arrested several times before.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: As this is very urgent we are asking just for appeals
by telegram, telex and fax, in English or in your own language:
- expressing serious concern for the safety and welfare of Bishnu Pukar Shrestha,
who is reported to be held in unacknowledged detention at the Maharajgunj Police
Training Academy in Kathmandu since his reported arrest by plain-clothes
policemen on 2 September 1999 at Satumangal, Kathmandu;
- calling on the authorities to establish an independent and impartial
investigation into his fate and whereabouts and to make the findings public;
- calling on the authorities, if he is found to be in detention, to allow him
immediate access to his relatives, a lawyer and medical treatment, if required;
- urging that, if he is detained, he is promptly charged with a recognizable
criminal offence, or immediately released and that steps be taken in the meantime
to safeguard his safety;
- expressing grave concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Nepal
and appealing for an immediate halt to human rights violations.