PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 31/03/98
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 15 per section
EXTRA 57/98 “Disappearance” / Fear of extrajudicial execution17 August 1998
NEPALBishweswor Prasad Pokhrel, aged 55
Amnesty International is concerned at the “disappearance” of Bishweswor Prasad
Pokhrel following his arrest at his home in Simrutu, Rukum District on 5 August
1998 and fears he may have been killed by police in retaliation for the killing
of two policemen earlier that day.
According to press reports, the policemen were killed by members of the Communist
Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) who had laid an ambush in the early morning of
5 August at Bhalakcha 7, Laha Khola, Rukum district. They were among a group
of eight police officers who had been on their way to the district headquarters
in Musikot, Rukum District.
According to sources close to the CPN (Maoist), Bishweswor Pokhrel was arrested
soon after the incident by three policemen from the Simrutu police station.
He was allegedly then seen being taken to Bhalakcha 7 where he is said to
have been deliberately shot dead - although this cannot be confirmed as his
body has not been found or returned to his relatives.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that other civilians may also have been killed
by police at that same spot. Amnesty International is in the process of
verifying these reports.
From 1992 to 1996, Bishweswor Prasad Pokhrel was an elected member of the Rukum
District Development Committee. He was also the Rukum District President of
the Samyukta Jana Morcha, United Peoples’ Front (Bhattarai), (SJM), the
political wing of the CPN (Maoist). This was up to February 1996 when he was
arrested and imprisoned for 15 months on charges of attempted murder and arson.
Following the declaration of a “people’s war” by the CPN (Maoist) in February
1996, there have been widespread reports of human rights violations by police
mainly in the mid-Western region. These include extrajudicial executions,
“disappearances”, torture and widespread arbitrary arrests and detentions.
A recent upsurge of these violations has followed the start of a large-scale
police operation aimed at armed members of the communist party of Nepal (Maoist).
This was reportedly initiated on 26 May 1998 and has resulted in an alarming
deterioration in the country’s human rights situation.
Initial reports indicate that many civilians, including members or sympathizers
of the SJM, have been among those reported killed and that police appear to
have resorted to deliberate killings as an alternative to arresting armed
members of the CPN (Maoist). Members of the CPN (Maoist) have also been
responsible for deliberate killings and other grave human rights abuses.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
- expressing serious concern at the “disappearance” of Bishweswor Pokhrel after
he was arrested by police on 5 August 1998;