Lok Krishna Bhattarai; Dhananjay Khanal; Bal Krishna Devkota

Re: Lok Krishna Bhattarai; Dhananjay Khanal; Bal Krishna Devkota

To: General Pyar Jung Thapa, Chief of Army Staff

From: Heather D. Neun of LRWC, B.A., M. Phil., LL.B.

Date: 2004-02-20

I write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LWRC”). LWRC is a committee of Canadian lawyers providing support internationally to lawyers whose rights, safety, or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy.

I am writing in response to recent reports about the arrests and disappearance of three lawyers in three separate incidents. Lok Krishna Bhattarai was reportedly arrested from his home in Baluwatar, Kathmandu municipality on 18 February 2004 by four men in plain clothes, who claimed to be security forces personnel. His whereabouts are unknown. Dhananjay Khanal of Sitapila, Kathmandu District and Bal Krishna Devkota of Sanepa, Lalitpur District were reportedly arrested from their homes at around 11 p.m. on February 21, 2004. The whereabouts of Mr. Khanal and Mr. Devkota are also unknown.

LWRC is very concerned about the safety of these three individuals. LWRC requests that urging that they be treated humanely while in custody and not be tortured or ill-treated. We call on the government of Nepal to make public the whereabouts of each of these men and grant each one immediate access to relatives, lawyers and medical attention. LRWC also calls on the government of Nepal to release Messrs. Bhattarai, Khanal and Devkota immediately and unconditionally, unless they are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence.

We remind the government of its obligations under international law. Disappearances are condemned as a violation of several fundamental human rights agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We look forward to receiving your reply.