Freed suspects allege torture in custody

Kathmandu, December 27

Eighteen-year-old youths Pradip Rawal and Bishal Chaudhary, who were arrested and held at the Central Investigation Bureau for 24 and 19 days, respectively, in connection with the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur on July 26, have accused cops of subjecting them to physical and mental torture. Police, however, have denied the allegations and challenged them to provide medical evidence to support their claim.

Pradip and Bishal shared their ordeal in police custody with THT. Bishal claimed that several police officers beat him up after handcuffing and blindfolding him on the first day of his arrest. “Police officers then forced me to confess the crime at gunpoint,” he alleged, adding, “I cried and pleaded my innocence, but they didn’t listen to me. I confessed the crime fearing more torture, and even death.”

Pradip said cops threatened him with dire consequences if he did not confess to the crime. He alleged that the cops threatened to shoot him dead, toss him in a burning oven and parade him at Maitighar, branding him a rapist.

Pradip alleged that Inspector General of Nepal Police Sarbendra Khanal himself quizzed him. According to him, Khanal told him that if he confessed to his crime, he would be made a government witness and might get away with less punishment.

However, Nepal Police Spokesperson Uttam Raj Subedi said such allegations against police were common.

“We don’t accept such claims. We don’t live in times when police have to torture convicts to find out the truth. They should corroborate their claims with medical evidence.”

Subedi said even if criminals were caught red-handed they alleged torture. He added that he had no idea whether IGP Khanal himself was involved in interrogating Pradip.

Meanwhile, Badri Prasad Bhusal, a human rights advocate took Pradip and Bishal to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital for the ‘medico-legal’ documents. “Doctors have collected their blood and urine samples. They will undergo psychiatric treatment from tomorrow,” Bhusal said.

He, however, admitted that signs of physical torture were not visible on their bodies.

He added that the constitution ensured compensation for detainees who were subjected to torture in police custody.