UPDATE (NEPAL): A free and fair trial of Mr. Pradhan should be guaranteed


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-49-2002
ISSUES: Right to fair trial,

Dear Friends, 

Regarding our previous appeal (UA-39-2001) about the arrest and trial of Mr. S. K. Pradhan, secretary-general of the Peoples Forum for Human Rights and Development (PFHRD), we are forwarding you the following letter from Jiwan Pradhan, secretary of PFHRD in order to keep your attention and support. 

Jiwan Pradhan is requesting you to express your concern about his trial to Nepalese authorities. Please take your action for release of Mr. Pradhan. 

If you need more information on this case, please visit our website; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2001/177/ and http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2002/214/ 

Thank you for your action. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


Dear Sir/Madam/friends, 

Greetings from PFHRD, Bhutan. Sorry, I was out of Kathmandu for about a month. 

On July 2002 I went to meet Mr. S. K. Pradhan at Jhapa district prison. Mr.Pradhan is fine physically, mentally and spiritually. This Mr. Pradhan said is due to the tremendous support and solidarity extended to him by the international community. Mr.Pradhan has requested me to convey his heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all known and unknown friends, well wishers and sympathizers who have stood by him at this great hour of crisis. He sends his prayers and best wishes to all of them. 

Mr. D.B.Bhandari, PFHRD Coordinator for refugees who has been actively involved in the campaign for Mr.Pradhan’s release at the grass root level has informed me that all the court formalities have now been completed. The final report on the absconding people was submitted by the Government Attorney, Mr.Ganesh Babu Aryal to the Court on 27 June 2002. For unknown reasons, Mr. Aryal has kept the report received from the Damak police on absconders pending for about ten days. 

Now, we expect that the trial of Mr. Pradhan and others accused in the case will begin. The date of trial, however, has not yet been fixed. We would request that direct telephone contact may be made with the Honorable Judges at the court firstly, to confirm the date and secondly, to express concerns on Mr.Pradhan’s behalf for a speedy, just, free and fair trial as Mr.Pradhan is innocent. That, Mr. Pradhan’s right to speech at the court should be respected i.e. He should be given time and permission to speak in his defense. 

The telephone number of Jhapa District Court is 00977 023 20030 (Chief Judge, Honorable Mr.Bhola Kharel, Justices Honorable, Shiva Prasad Parajuli and Bal Krishna Upreti). Please also express your concerns to Mr. Ganesh Babu Aryal, Government Attorney and Mr. Parameshwor Parajuli, Deputy Government Attorney at telephone number 00977 023 20174. 

You can also express your concerns in writing to the Honorable Judges. The sample letter is given below. As the court does not have email or fax facilities, you can use the fax of Chief District Officer (CDO), Jhapa or Refugee Coordination Unit (RCU, Jhapa). Their fax numbers are given below. 

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Honorable Justices 
Jhapa District Court 
Bhadrapur, Nepal 
Tel No: 977 023 20030 
Fax No: c/o Chief District Officer (CDO) 00 977 023 
20088 or Refugee Coordination Unit (RCU) 00 977 023 

Subject: Free and fair trial of Mr. S. K. Pradhan, Bhutanese Human Rights Defender 

Your Honors, 

Greetings. We are deeply concerned at the prolonged detention of Mr. S. K. Pradhan, Bhutanese human rights leader and Secretary General of Peoples Forum for Human Rights and Development (PFHRD) Bhutan at District prison, Jhapa. We have known Mr. Pradhan for a long time as a front-runner Bhutanese human rights activist and are impressed by his dedication to the cause of democracy, human rights and repatriation of Bhutanese refugees. 

There are firm reasons to believe that he is innocent and is neither involved nor connected with R. K. Budathoki murder. He has been falsely implicated in the case by those who are opposed to him, may be because of his increasing international reputation and fame. The indirect role and influence of the Bhutanese Government to see him in prison cannot be ruled out, as Mr. Pradhan is one of the most ardent critic and opponent of the Bhutanese Government at UN and international forums. 

We understand that his trial is going to take place soon. We would like to request Your Honors to give a free and fair hearing to Mr. Pradhan. His right to speech and defense should be granted and protected. As his trial proceeds, we would monitor it and would try to send our observers to ensure justice is done to him. 

With warm regards, 

Yours sincerely 

Copy to: 
His Excellency Mr.Sher Bahadur Deuba 
Prime Minister of Nepal 
SinghaDurbar, Kathmandu 
Tel: 977 1 227955 or 228555 
Fax: 977 1 227786 

His Excellency Mr.Keshav Prasad Upadhaya 
Hon’ble Chief Justice of Supreme Court 
Kathmandu Nepal 
Tel: 977 1 262546 
Fax: 977 1 262878 

Mr.Pashupati Karmacharya 
Chief District Officer (CDO) 
Jhapa, Nepal 
Tel: 00 977 023 20166 / 21066 
Fax: 00 977 023 20088 

Mr. John Andrew 
UNHCR Field Director, Badrapur Jhapa 
Tel: 00 977 023 20776, 20642 
Fax: 00 977 023 20774 

Mr. Ganesh Babu Aryal 
District Government Attorney 
Jhapa, Nepal 
Tel: 00977 023 20174 

(UNHCR office at Badrapur is located near the Jhapa District Court. In case you are not able to send the fax to CDO or RCU, you can fax it to C/O UNHCR. They should be able to hand over it to the court. Thanks.) 

Lastly, it would be a great moral support if the trial of Mr.Pradhan is observed by the international community to ensure injustice is not done to 
Mr.Pradhan and that he is given a free and fair hearing. Please see if international observers could be fielded. 

With my warm wishes 

Jiwan Pradhan, 
Secretary, PFHRD Bhutan 
GPO: 8975 EPC: 5028, Kathmandu, Nepal 
Tel: 977 1 273768, Fax: 977 1 220161 
Email: jiwankp@yahoo.com / skpfhrd@mos.com.np

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-49-2002
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Right to fair trial,