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Krishna Adhikari

Krishna Adhikari On 6 June 2004, Krishna Prasad Adhikari, a resident of Fujel village of Gorkha District, was murdered in Chitwan District by Maoist cadres. Krishna Prasad was visiting his grandparents after having taken the SLC examinations, and he was abducted from Bakullahar Chowk by men who came on a motorcycle ...
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Maina Sunuwar

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Sanjeev Kumar Karna

Sanjeev Kumar Karna Sanjeev Kumar Karna was one among the 11 persons arrested on October 8, 2003. On that fateful day, they had gone to attend a picnic program organized by the students at a place called Kariyachauri VDC-4, and from picnic, they went to Kataiya Chowri Area of Dhanusha district where they ate some food ...
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Arjun Bahadur Lama

Arjun Bahadur Lama, 48 years in age, permanent resident of Chhatrebas VDC -5, Dapcha in Kavre district was abducted by a group of Maoist cadres, three in number, on 29 April 2005 (2062.1.16 BS) from the premises of Sri Krishna Secondary School at Chhatrebas VDC-1 of the district.
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Hari Prasad Bolakhe

Hari Prasad Bolakhe, 35 (while missing) a permanent resident of Phulbari VDC-8, Kavre district, a pastor by profession, had been missing since the arrest December 27, 2003, was reportedly killed by security persons. A team of National Human Rights Commission discovered a human skeleton in a jungle ...
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Sarala Sapkota

Around 11 p.m. on July 15, 2004, a group of 12 armed soldiers arrested Sarala Sapkota at her grandfather’s house. The family, who witnessed the arrest, stated that soldiers gave Sarala no reason for her arrest. After her arrest, Sarala’s family went to Baireni barracks and the DPO ...
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Birendra Shah

On the evening of 5 October 2007, Mr. Birendra Shah, 34, resident of Inruwasira VDC-8, Bara district, a local journalist of Bara district and correspondent of Nepal FM, Avenues Television and Dristi weekly, was abducted by Maoists from Pipara Bazaar in Kalaiya, the district headquarters of Bara ...
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Three persons namely Bishwonath Parajuli (also called Nagendra Parajuli), Tom Nath Poudel and Dhan Bahadur Tamang of Hasandaha VDC, Morang were shot dead by the security personnel on 28 September 2004. According to the eyewitnesses, other victims and the villagers, about 16 people were arrested ...
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Chot Nath Ghimire and Shekhar Nath Ghimire

Chot Nath Ghimire, a 58-year-old farmer, resident of Ishaneshor VDC-4, Ratamate Majhpokhari of Lamjung district was allegedly arrested by the Joint Security Forces of Joint Security Camp stationed at Bhorlatar VDC, Lamjung district on February 2, 2002 (2058.10.20). The security camp called Mr. ...
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Bhauna Tharu

Bhauna Tharu (Bhauna Chaudhary in the citizenship card), 21 years old male (at the time of the incident; Date of Birthe: 8 September 1978), son of Purna Bahadur Chaudhary, permanent resident of Sujanpur village, Neulapur VDC-4, Bardiya district, and an employee of Rastriya Gobar Gas, Gulariya, ...
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Close Encounters

Stories from the Frontline of Human Rights Work in Nepal

Close Encounters
During Nepal’s armed conflict and its aftermath, human rights violations not only scarred and destroyed the victims but had a devastating effect on the lives of human rights defenders.
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Maina Sunuwar

Maina Sunuwar
Around 6 am on February 17, 2004, a group of RNA soldiers arrested Ms Maina Sunuwar, a 15-year-old schoolgirl of Kharelthok VDC-6, Kavre district. She disappeared since her arrest. Her family members, with support from villagers and school where Maina was a student, visited detention centers and Army barracks to find her, but the authorities simply denied having arrested and detained her.
Victim's Details:
Name: Maina Sunuwar
Date of Incident : February 17, 2004
Age: 15
Address: Kharelthok VDC-6, Kavre District



Perpetrator's Details:
1. Colonel Bobi Khatri of NA Camp,Panchkhal;
2. Captain Amit Pun of NA Camp, Panchkhal;
3. Captain Sunil Adhikari of NA Camp, Panchkhal;
4. Captain Niranjan Basnet of NA Camp, Panchkhal.

Summary: Around 6 am on February 19, 2004, a group of RNA soldiers arrested Ms Maina Sunuwar, a 15-year-old schoolgirl of Kharelthok VDC-6, Kavre district. She disappeared since her arrest. Her family members, with support from villagers and school where Maina was a student, visited detention centers and Army barracks to find her, but the authorities simply denied having arrested and detained her.

As Maina's family continued search for Maina, the matter slowly started to be covered by the national newspapers thereby gaining the attention of international communities. Under sustained pressure from the international community, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, the army proceeded with an internal inquiry and brought three soldiers allegedly responsible before a court martial on April 21, 2004. However, they were found guilty of minor offences like using improper interrogation techniques and not following procedures during the disposal of Maina’s body and were handed over meager punishment of six months’ imprisonment.

Dissatisfied with the Army's internal inquiry and trial, Devi Sunuwar, Maina's mother, knocked on the door of Kavre DPO with a complaint against 4 alleged perpetrators (3 court-martialed and the fourth one identified by the villagers). Police made inquiry, and Maina's body was exhumed in March 2007. Kavre District Court has issued orders for the arrest of the four accused in 2008 but none has been arrested.

Details of the Incident and Development: Around 6 a.m. on February 19, 2004, a group of 15 uniformed soldiers arrived at Maina Sunuwar’s house. Security personnel said they were looking for her mother Devi Sunuwar but since Devi was not in the house, they took Maina away in her place. They told Maina’s father, Purna Bahadur, that if he wanted Maina back he should bring her mother, Devi, to Lamidanda Barracks in Kavre. The following day, a group of around 25 people, including the principal of Maina’s school, Purna Bahadur, and one of Maina’s teachers went to the Lamidanda barracks. When they asked about Maina and demanded her release, security forces in the barracks denied having arrested Maina. The group then went to the army barracks at Panchkhal, where officials again denied any involvement in her arrest. Maina’s mother repeatedly visited the District Administration Office and DPO of Kavre, Lamidanda army camp, and Panchkhal army camp, but they all denied the arrest and threatened her instead. At one point, some security forces at Panchkhal army barracks told Maina’s mother that Maina had not “disappeared,” but had been “killed in an anti-terrorist operation."

In April 2004, Maina’s mother visited the NA Headquarters in Kathmandu where she was told that Maina had been killed and that her clothes and other things had been sent to the police. Under sustained pressure from the international community, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, the army proceeded with an internal inquiry and brought three soldiers allegedly responsible before a court martial on April 21, 2004. According to army records, the accused were only charged with minor offenses of using improper interrogation techniques and not following procedures during the disposal of Maina’s body. They were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, effective from March 14, 2005. Since they had already spent that time confined to barracks during the period of investigation, the officers were set free. According to unconfirmed reports, two of them are no longer serving in the army, while a third is now working in army headquarters.

Official Action: Under pressure from OHCHR-Nepal, the police proceeded with investigations that resulted in Maina’s body, which had been illegally buried at the Panchkal army camp, being exhumed in March 2007. The results of forensic tests confirming that the remains were indeed Maina’s were received from India in July 2008. The DPO Kavre informed the public prosecutor and court accordingly. Since then, the investigations have not made any significant progress.

On January 10, 2007, Devi, with legal support from Advocacy Forum, lodged a writ at the Supreme Court, seeking an order for the DPO and public prosecutor in Kavre to complete the investigation. On January 11, 2007, a preliminary hearing before the Supreme Court resulted in a 15-day “show cause” notice issued against the District Public Prosecutor ‘s Office and the DPO in Kavre. This means that the DPO and Prosecutor’s Office were required to either complete the investigations or inform the court of the reasons why it was not possible to do so within 15 days. The case was made a priority.

On February 1, 2007, the DPO in Kavre submitted its written reply to the Supreme Court stating that it was investigating the case. On February 14, 2007, the District Public Prosecutor Office contacted the Supreme Court with an update on the case. The Office stated that the police would investigate the case and that it would take appropriate action after the investigation had been submitted. On May 8, 2007, the Supreme Court ordered that the Nepal Army Headquarters produce the original military file concerning the court martial within 7 days. On June 11, 2007, the army headquarters presented documentation regarding the court martial decision to the Supreme Court. Other documents were not provided. Lawyers and the victim’s family were denied access to the army documents by the Supreme Court administration.
Advocacy Forum challenged this action by lodging an application on June 27, 2007, and on on July 6, 2007, the court ordered the army to cooperate fully with the investigation and to produce all documents that related to the court martial.

On September 18, 2007, a Supreme Court decision ordered the DPO in Kavre to complete the investigation within three months. The DPO in Kavre submitted its investigation report to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office on January 27, 2008. As a result on February 3, 2008, the Kavre Public Prosecutor filed a charge sheet with the Kavre District Court against army officers Bobi Khatri, Sunil Prasad Adhikari, Amit Pun, and Niranjan Basnet. The charges included the illegal detention, torture, and killing of Maina. The court also issued summons for the arrest of the four accused. However, as of August 2008 they had not been arrested.

 As per the District Court’s orders, subpoenas were served to the defendants' addresses between March and July 2008, requiring them to appear at court within 70 days. Niranjan Basnet could not be served his subpoena because of a missing signature on the document. A hearing scheduled for December 16, 2008 was postponed due to lack of time, and postponed subsequently due to a general strike in Kavre District.

The hearing rescheduled for February 3, 2009, could not take place because the court clerk provided conflicting information to the public prosecutor and Devi's lawyer about the date.

On February 15, 2009, the court reissued a subpoena to Niranjan Basnet which was duly served on April 27, 2009. The court did not issue any other orders regarding evidence or witnesses for several months. Finally, in a significant ruling on September 13, 2009, the District Court ordered Nepal Army Headquarters to immediately proceed with the automatic suspension of Major Niranjan Basnet (one of the four accused believed to be still serving) and for Army Headquarters to submit all the files containing the statements of the people interviewed by the Military Court of Inquiry.

On December 12, 2009, the Army Police took control of Major Basnet at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, after his repatriation from the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Chad.
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