Govt urged not to obstruct Maina case proceedings

KATHMANDU: A group of human rights organisations has urged the government to stop obstructing criminal proceeding over the alleged torture and murder of Maina Sunar by four army officers.

International and local human rights organisations today wrote to Professor Bharat Bahadur Karki, Attorney General of Nepal, on the sixth anniversary of Maina Sunar’s death asking him to end ongoing obstructions to bring the officers to trial and to end impunity that is prevailing in the society at present.

The four army officers are accused of subjecting Maina to prolonged simulated drowning and electrocution with a 220 volt current that led to her death. Her body was secretly buried and was later exhumed at an army barracks where Nepali UN peacekeepers are trained.

Mandira Sharma, director of Advocacy Forum Nepal, asked the bodies concerned to end every type of impunity and to ensure the rule of law in the country. Sharma added that the case indicates multiple failures of the government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for Maina’s murder along with hundreds of others during the country’s decade-long conflict between the Maoists and the government.

“The authorities must provide justice for Maina Sunar and should be answerable for the incident,” said Sharma, addressing a press conference organised to unveil a report on her death.

Nepali Army is refusing to cooperate while the police have failed to arrest the culprits despite Supreme Court ruling on September 2007 and subsequent arrest warrants issued in January 2008 by Kavre District Court (KDC). Sharma accused the NA of harbouring one of the four accused — Major Niranjan Basnet — instead of handing him over for trial.

Rob Godden, Asia Pacific Campaign coordinator of Amnesty International, said the failure to arrest and prosecute those charged with Maina’s murder reveals weakness in the Nepali justice system and demanded that the government ensure that those accused of killing

Maina are arrested and held accountable in a court of law.

The report has recommended that the government produce Major Basnet immediately in the KDC and has sought an order to the NA to fully cooperate with the Attorney General.