NEPAL: Dr. C.K. Raut’s properties and bank accounts frozen and passport annulled by the government

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) strongly objects to the following decision of the Nepalese government: the process of annulling Dr. C.K. Raut’s passport, freezing his properties and his savings account. The government’s decision suffocates the very livelihood of his family, which includes a pregnant wife and two young children. Their daily necessities, medical treatment and education are clearly affected.

The government has issued an order to annul his passport. However, for the last five years, he has only travelled to India, where Nepalese citizens do not require a passport or visa. The government issued a second decree to freeze all his properties, including a savings account. This savings account amounted to nine hundred thousand rupees (about US$9000). He has been currently using this account to support the daily needs of his family.

This has inhumanely affected the very subsistence of his family. He needs to pay for food, rent and medical treatment for his pregnant wife and school fees for his six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. They are all presently living in a rented flat in Janakpurdham of the Dhanusha district. In addition to the two decrees against him, the Area Police Office Lahan has written to the Crime Investigation Department of the Police Headquarters in Kathmandu to block Dr. Raut’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is a clear infringement on his right to freedom of speech. The AHRC has secured relevant copies of the government’s orders, and requests made to Sunrise Bank Limited Rajbiraj and Kumari Bank Limited Putalisadak to freeze his accounts.

On 2 February 2017, Dr. Raut was arrested in his rented flat in Janakpurdham. He was charged with addressing a mass-rally in Lahan, Siraha district on 18 January 2017, Martyr’s day. The government has filed several sedition cases against him in Siraha, Rautahat and Rupandehi districts in order to trap him in a legal maze.

The Nepal Police filed a writ of ‘Organized Crime’ in Siraha District Court against Dr. Raut and his supporters at 5 PM on 3 April 2017, after keeping them in custody for 60 days, citing investigation.

He was already on trial for four sedition charges in the Special Court and one in the Supreme Court in Kathmandu, filed on 8 October 2014. Both courts have cleared him. They stated that his writings, speeches, and activities do not amount to sedition.

The government has completely pushed Dr. Raut and his family members to the edge. They deprived them of their means of livelihood and other fundamental rights of human beings. Therefore, the AHRC urges the national and international human rights organizations, and the international community to break their silence and step in. They need to urge the government of Nepal to retract its moves to annul his passport, bank accounts and assets. It infringes on fundamental human rights and the right to life of him and his family members.