NHRC not to back plea for amnesty

Kathmandu, November 1:

Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kedar Nath Upadhyaya today said that the rights body cannot support the demand for general amnesty by the inmates who have been agitating in several jails.

“I cannot take any stance in favour of their general amnesty,” Upadhyaya, who is also a former Chief Justice, said. “They have been serving sentences after being convicted in criminal charges,” he added.

Upadhyaya was addressing a press conference organised by NHRC to make public its investigation report on the abduction of journalist Birendra Shah by Maoist cadres. The rights body suggested the government to implement the recommendations made by the High-Level Prison Reform Commission.

The commission headed by member of parliament Ram Bahadur Gurung has recommended the government to reform prisons and give pardon to those who have completed 75 per cent of their terms and who have significantly improved their behaviour.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula had recently told the parliament that the government will implement the report and it has been gathering details on the inmates who can be pardoned.

Upadhyaya said the government should take an appropriate decision on this regard.

“We want to see that the government raised the amount given to the jail

inmates for their daily accommodation and health care and gave attention to their human rights,” the chairman of the NHRC further said.

“NHRC cannot stand in favour or against giving general amnesty to the inmates, as they have been serving sentences in criminal charges,” he said, adding, “It is a political matter whether or not to grant a general amnesty to them.”

Upadhyaya called on the government to provide transportation costs to the inmates while producing them to courts and returning them to jails. He said the NHRC wants the conditions in jails improved.