NEPAL: Dr. C.K. Raut’s supporters re-arrested and kept in police custody under torturous conditions

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that seventeen supporters of Dr. C.K. Raut have been arrested by the police on 7 December from the Janakpur District. They were organizing a clean-up programme of the city after the Vivahpanchami festival attended by about one million pilgrims. They are still in police custody under torturous conditions, without sufficient clothing for the recent cold waves in Terai. According to the media reports quoting the spokesperson of the District Police, Manoj Kumar Yadav, public offence cases have been filed against them.

The arrested include Ram Shankar Mahaseth, Ram Pratap Mandal, Abhimanyu Kumar Mahato, Mubarak Husen, Bishwanath Chaudhari, Birendra Kumar Mandal, Umakant Yadav, Dhiraj Kumar Yadav, Bishnu Swaraji, Phoolchan Kumar Mukhiya, Upendra Kumar Rohita, Laxmi Narayan Yadav, Jitendra Singh, Roshan Kumar Yadav, Manoj Morbaita and Vivek Karn. They were arrested wearing caps in support of Madhesh, as they were cleaning up dirty and littered roads outside the Janaki Temple.

Before this arrest, the police vandalized water-stalls on 4 December, near Ramananad Chowk, they served pilgrims on the day of the Vivahpanchami festival. The police also wasted water, causing it to spill over, verbally using racial slurs and physically manhandled the supporters of Dr. Raut. Chief District Officer (CDO) of Dhanusha Dilip Chapagain and Superintendent of Police (SP) of Dhanusha Lalmani Acharya directly ordered the police to vandalize the water-stalls kept by volunteers on 4 December who were also directly involved in the arrests on 6 December.

They were not brought before the Courts, or Chief District Officer, or government lawyer’s office until 9 December. In addition, they had not signed any legal remand request. They only signed arrest letters while in custody, which means that they were still in extra-judicial custody.

A habeas-corpus case was filed on 9 December against the District Police Office Dhanusha for them to present seventeen detainees. After the court issued notice in the name of District Police Office on the habeas-corpus writ on 9 December, they were brought to the government lawyer’s office, where their statements were supposed to be recorded. However, they were briefly questioned, nothing was recorded and they were forced to sign some back-dated documents and files. In the process, they were subjected to threats with their lives and physical torture which included kicks and slaps.

The police produced their recorded statements later, in custody, to obtain their signatures.  The detainees found the statements to be completely false, and refused to sign them. They were then harassed kicked and punched in custody to force them to sign. The AHRC has secured an audio evidence for this statement from detainees.

Until the serving of the notice, the local administration had not allegedly taken a legal remand to keep the detainees. On 9 December, after the notice, the police brought the detainees to the government lawyer’s office for remand. On that occasion, the detainees had complained of physical torture and abuse while inside custody, in a brief conversation. (The AHRC has video evidence)
Against the physical torture inside the police custody, two detainees, Sanjay Kumar Yadav and Upendra Rohita started to fast from 8 December. When their conditions deteriorated, Sanjay Kumar Yadav and Upendra Rohita, were hospitalized in Emergency Ward No. 14 of Janakpur Zonal Hospital at 7:00 PM on 12 December.

Three more detainees, namely Abhimanyu Mahato, Mubarak Husen and Phoolchan Kumar Mukhiya, also started to fast against police torture while in custody from 11 December.

At least 2 of the detainees were confirmed to be minors, under the age of 16. Their birth certificates have been submitted to the police.

The AHRC strongly condemns the police interventions, arrests and torture on peaceful social events. It strongly requests the Government of Nepal and its agencies, to secure immediate and unconditional release of all detainees, ensuring fundamental human rights to its every citizen.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-190-2016
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Freedom of assembly, Police negligence, Police violence, Right to fair trial, Right to life, Rule of law, Torture,