Deepak Laya Magar Ram Kumar Karki Jairam Bhandari Ram Chandra Giri, Lawyer

Re: Deepak Laya Magar Ram Kumar Karki Jairam Bhandari Ram Chandra Giri, Lawyer

To: Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand

From: Catherine A. Morris of LRWC

Date: 2003-06-19

We have received information from Amnesty International that Mr. Ram Chandra Giri has experienced intimidation by police during his work as a lawyer with a legal aid organization, Advocacy Forum. In May 2003, lawyers from Advocacy Forum visited three prisoners at Hanumandhoka district police station, Deepak Laya Magar, (arrested for attempted murder), Ram Kumar Karki and Jairam Bhandari (both arrested for theft). The prisoners appeared to have been severely beaten and needed medical attention. The police declined to take the prisoners to hospital, and lawyers had to apply to the Kathmandu district court for an order that the prisoners to be taken to hospital. On May 15, 2003, Mr. Ram Chandra Giri went to Hanumandhoka police station with the necessary court order.

According to the information we have received, a sub?inspector named Resham Parajuli called the three prisoners into his office, accused them of lying to their lawyer, and then struck Deepak Laya Magar twice on the shoulder. Sub?Inspector Resham Parajuli is reported to have told Mr. Ram Chandra Giri that criminals deserved to be tortured, blamed Advocacy Forum for providing legal aid and medical services to criminals, and intimidated the lawyer. The Sub-Inspector stated that the lawyer could report the assault on Deepak Laya Magar “wherever you want.”

Late on May 15 the prisoners were taken to hospital accompanied by a lawyer from Advocacy Forum. Prior to being taken to hospital, an Assistant Sub?Inspector threatened the prisoners that when returned they would get “the treatment.” We are concerned for the safety of Deepak Laya Magar, Ram Kumar Karki and Jairam Bhandari. As of May 16, 2003, they were in custody of the District Police Office at Hanumandhoka, Kathmandu.

We are concerned about these reports that police have justified beating and torture of prisoners, and that they have failed obtain needed medical treatment for prisoners. The circumstances we have described are in violation of Nepal’s Constitution as well as international conventions signed by Nepal. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 7 requires that no one be subjected to torture. The UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment requires signatory states to prevent torture within their boundaries and obligates states to prosecute those suspected of torturing others. Nepal has signed both conventions.

This situation also gives us concern about for the well-being of Mr. Ram Chandra Giri and other lawyers working for the legal aid organization Advocacy Forum. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Principle 16, states that governments must ensure that lawyers “shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognised professional duties, standards and ethics.”

We respectfully urge your government to take every step to ensure that the above named prisoners are not tortured or ill?treated. We respectfully suggest that you ensure a thorough investigation of these allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners at Hanumandhoka district police office, and that those responsible are brought to justice, including any higher ranking officers who tolerate torture of prisoners. We also respectfully suggest an investigation of the reports of police intimidation or harassment of lawyers working at Advocacy Forum, and that all necessary steps be taken to make sure lawyers are able to do their lawful work without harassment or intimidation. We appreciate your attention to this matter. We would appreciate a response by mail, e-mail or fax.