Mr. Lokendra Dhwaj Khand, President of student union at Nepal Law, Campus Unit

Re: Mr. Lokendra Dhwaj Khand, President of student union at Nepal Law, Campus Unit;  Ms. Nirmala Bhandari, aged 20, student; Mr. Ujjwal Sukla, aged 27, lawyer

To: Brigadier General B A K Sharma, Head, Army Human Rights Cell of Nepal

From: C. A. Morris, BA, LLB, LLM Member, LRWC

Date: 2003-09-30

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of Canadian lawyers, provides support internationally to lawyers to in danger and promotes enforcement of human rights standards that protect the right and duty of lawyers to uphold the rule of law. We are writing to express urgent concern about reports of the disappearance of three individuals who were reportedly arrested by authorities between August 27 and September 23, 2003.

Mr. Lokendra Dhwaj Khand is the acting President of the Nepal Bidhyarthi Sangh (Nepal Student Union) at Nepal Law Campus Unit in Kathmandu. He was arrested at the Campus Unit on August 27. Our information is that he was taken away by members of the Royal Nepalese Army dressed in plain clothes. The reasons for his arrest are unknown.. His family has been unable to locate him despite inquiries at the Ministry of Defence and the Headquarters of the Royal Nepalese Army.

Ms. Nirmala Bhandari, a student, is reported to have been arrested at her home by five plain clothed and masked members of the security forces in Balaju, Kathmandu at approximately 10.30 p.m. on September 15. Her whereabouts and the reason for her arrest is unknown.

Mr. Ujjwal Sukla is a lawyer and a member of Amnesty International. He is reported to have been arrested at his home in Ganabahal, Lalitpur, by nine members of the security forces, two of whom were wearing masks, at about 9 p.m. on September 23. His whereabouts and the reason for his arrest is unknown. One of the persons who arrested Mr. Ujjwal Sukla showed an identity card with the name “C. Chandra Bahadur Rai.”

We respectfully urge you to ensure that the authorities make public the whereabouts of these three persons and give them immediate access to medical attention, their relatives, and lawyers. We also request that you call upon the authorities to ensure that these persons are not subjected to any ill?treatment or torture while they are in custody. We urge that all three persons be released unconditionally unless they are immediately to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence.

We do understand that there is a situation of extreme unrest and violence in Nepal at the present time. However, the government of Nepal remains under international obligation to ensure that its security and armed forces are complying with its own constitution and laws and all international instruments and conventions. The circumstances we have described are in violation of Nepal’s Constitution as well as international conventions signed by Nepal. We also draw to your attention the 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 request your immediate, urgent, and personal attention to ensure that these three persons are located and their safety assured. We would appreciate an urgent response by mail, e-mail or fax. Thank you very much for your attention and concern.