Mr. Himal Sharma


The Facts

On 21 October 2003, Mr. Himal Sharma was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty in Kathmandu by Nepali security forces wearing civilian clothes. He was taken to the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks and forcibly disappeared for almost one and a half years, during which the Nepali authorities repeatedly denied his detention and failed to reveal his fate and whereabouts to his representatives and his family despite several attempts carried out by his wife, Mrs. Devi Sharma, to locate him. In February 2005, he was transferred to the Mahendradal Battalion barracks in Gorkha district. Mr. Himal Sharma’s fate and whereabouts remained unknown and he was placed outside the protection of the law until 8 March 2005.

During the entire period of his enforced disappearance, Mr. Himal Sharma was subjected to severe mental and physical torture. He suffered from countless episodes of beating, simulated drowning, flogging, electrocution and other forms of ill-treatment. In spite of his evidently poor state of health as a consequence of torture, he was not granted any adequate treatment resulting in serious permanent ailments. 

Mr. Himal Sharma’s whereabouts were eventually revealed by the Nepali government on 8 March 2005, but he was arbitrarily kept in detention and ill-treated until 19 December 2005 when the Supreme Court declared his detention unlawful and ordered his liberation. On the same day Mr. Himal Sharma was re-arrested and brought back to jail where he was held until 14 July 2006, when he was finally released. 

Read more: here

Search for justice

On 29 October 2003 Mrs. Devi Sharma (wife of Mr. Himal Sharma) filed a habeas corpus writ before the Supreme Court of Nepal on behalf of Mr. Himal Sharma. In the following days she went to the local police, administrative and military authorities in order to report the deprivation of liberty and disappearance of her husband but they refused to register the complaint and further intimidated her by saying that she could be arrested if she kept inquiring about her husband.

Throughout the habeas corpus proceedings before the Supreme Court, Mrs. Devi Sharma had to face the complete uncooperativeness of the national authorities and their deceitful replies denying any knowledge of the situation of her husband. On 19 December 2005, the Supreme Court found that the preventive detention of Mr. Himal Sharma was unlawful.

After his final release on 14 July 2006, Mr. Himal Sharma took a number of steps to seek the formal recognition of his enforced disappearance, torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention. On 27 July 2006 Mr. Himal Sharma, together with three former fellow detainees at the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks, filed a writ to the Supreme Court formally accusing some of the main responsible for the enforced disappearances and torture at the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks and calling for the constitution of a high-level commission of inquiry to investigate the human rights violations committed at the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks and the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators.

On 1 June 2007 the Supreme Court ruled on the petitions submitted on behalf of 83 disappeared people, among which the writ filed by Mr. Himal Sharma. The Court issued a mandamus order directing the government to promulgate a statute of law criminalising enforced disappearance in accordance with international standards; form an independent commission to investigate on the status of disappeared persons and the causes of their disappearance and submit the findings to competent authorities for prosecution; and provide victims of enforced disappearance with effective remedies and reparations.

Moreover, Mr. Himal Sharma held public demonstrations and conducted several interviews with officers of the office of the OHCHR in Kathmandu and the National Human Rights Commission calling for truth, justice and redress for victims of enforced disappearance. He further appealed to national authorities to have an official document formally acknowledging his detention from 2003 and lobbied before national authorities to take disciplinary measures against the security officers allegedly involved in human rights violations at the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks.

Read the decision: here

Recommendations

The Human Rights Committee recommended that Nepal conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the facts surrounding the detention of Mr. Sharma and the treatment he suffered in detention; prosecute, try and punish those responsible for the violations committed and make the results of such measures public; provide the authors with detailed information about the results of its investigation; ensure that any necessary and adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment is provided to the authors; and provide effective reparation, including adequate compensation and appropriate measures of satisfaction, to the authors for the violations suffered;  ensure that its legislation allows for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for serious human rights violations, such as torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance; guarantees that any enforced disappearances give rise to a prompt, impartial and effective investigation; defines and criminalizes acts of torture with sanctions and remedies commensurate with the gravity of the crime; and amend to bring the 35-day limit for claiming compensation for torture into line with international standards.

Conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the facts surrounding the detention and the treatment he suffered in detention –
  
Prosecute, try and punish those responsible for the violations committed and make the results of such measures public. –
  
Provide with detailed information about the results of its investigation
  
Ensure that any necessary and adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment
  
Provide effective reparation, including adequate compensation and appropriate measures of satisfaction
  
Criminalize torture and enforced disappearance and provide for appropriate sanctions and remedies commensurate with the gravity of the crimes
  
Guarantee prompt, impartial and effective investigation; allow for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for such crimes; and amend the 35 days statutory limit for claiming compensation for torture in accordance with international standards.
  
Publish the present the Views and disseminate them widely in the Nepali language.
  

* No follow up on the implementation of the recommendation has been done yet, therefore no grading is available.

Efforts for Implementation

  1. Joint follow-up report submitted to the Human Rights Committee, October 2018
  2. Collective Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee, June 2020