Lakpa Tamang


A 11 year old boy tortured in 2010.

FACTS

In November 2010, Mr.Lakpa Tamang, a 11 year old boy belonging to the indigenous community of Nepal was accused of having stolen a gold earring by a neighbour based on an astrologer’s statement. On 15 November 2010, he was brought to Pachuwaghat Police Station in Kavrepalanchowk for interrogation. Two local police officers asked if he had stolen the earring and when he denied, he was severely mistreated; slapped on the face, beaten with plastic pipes, electrocuted in his ears, submitted to falanga (method of torturing with beatings on the foot soles) and threatened with death unless he confessed his alleged theft.

In extreme pain, he signed a confession to save his life. Mr.Lakpa Tamang’s father signed a “reconciliation deed”, undertaking to refund his neighbour for the gold earring. In the process, Mr. Lakpa Tamang endured lasting psychological harm and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder hampering his further education prospects.

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PROCEDURE

On 6 January 2011, Mr. Lakpa’s father submitted a complaint to the Kavrepalanchowk District Court, requesting the prosecution and sanction of those responsible for his son’s torture and compensation for the harm suffered. On 27 February 2012, the Kavrepalanchowk District Court sentenced the two police officers concerned to pay a fine of 2,000 Nepalese Rupees each (approximately 16 Euros), considering that they should not be deprived of their liberty. The District Court also ordered the payment of 20,000 Nepalese Rupees (approximately 160 Euros) as compensation for Mr. Lakpa Tamang.

Considering that the sanction imposed on those responsible was not commensurate to the gravity of the crime and that the amount of money awarded as compensation was insufficient to repair the harm suffered on 29 November 2012 the author’s parents submitted an appeal before the Appellate Court in Patan. On 19 April 2015, the Appellate Court in Patan rendered its decision, ordering that the defendants should be fined 5,000 Nepalese Rupees each (approximately 40 Euros) and that Mr. Lakpa Tamang should receive a total of 100,000 Nepalese Rupees (approximately 800 Euros) as compensation. The Appellate Court in Patan refused to sentence the defendants to deprivation of liberty.

On 22 January 2016, the author submitted a complaint to the Supreme Court of Nepal, alleging that the sanction imposed on the two police officers implicated is not commensurate to the gravity of the crime committed against him and that the compensation awarded is not adequate and is at odds with international law standards. The author of the communication thus requested the Supreme Court of Nepal to grant review of previous decisions. However, on 2 February 2016 the Supreme Court of Nepal rejected the appeal and the request of review, upholding the Appellate Court’s decision.

On 10 March 2016, TRIAL International submitted an individual communication on behalf of Mr. Lakpa Tamang to the Human Rights Committee (HRC). The HRC issued its decision on the case on 21 March 2018. It found that Mr. Lakpa was the victim of the right against torture among other rights provisioned under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  

Read the decision: English

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee recommended that Nepal provide Mr. Lakpa with adequate compensation proportionate to the gravity of the violations sustained, access to any necessary medical treatment and psychological rehabilitation, and appropriate measures of satisfaction for such violations, review its investigation and ensure that those responsible are sanctioned with penalties commensurate to the gravity of the crime, take measures to eradicate torture and ill-treatment by revising its legislation to define and criminalize torture with sanctions and remedies in accordance with international standards, the law enforcement personnel receive training on the prevention and investigation of torture and ill-treatment, ensure that the reconciliation agreement has no evidentiary value in legal proceedings and make sure that no evidence obtained through torture is used in any proceedings or invoke legal responsibility. In addition, it is required to translate the decision is translated into Nepali and distributed widely.

Review its investigation and ensure that those responsible are sanctioned with penalties commensurate to the gravity of the crime D
 Nepal has failed to adopt measures with regard to the investigation, prosecution and sanction of those responsible. 
Information to the author about the investigation of the caseD
No information on the progress of the investigation has been provided to the author.
Ensure that the reconciliation agreement has no evidentiary value in legal proceedings. D
 No measures to address this recommendation in particular have been taken. 
Provision of adequate compensationD
 Mr. Tamang has not received any form of compensation for the harm suffered. 
Appropriate measures of satisfactionD
 The author has not received any measure on satisfaction. 
Adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatmentD
 No measures have been adopted to implement the Committee’s recommendation regarding the provision of adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment.
Ensure that no evidence obtained through torture is used in any proceedings, either civil or criminal, as a basis for establishing legal responsibility.D
The government has not been able to ensure that confessions based on torture would be inadmissible as an evidence.
Ensure that law enforcement personnel receive training on the prevention and investigation of torture and ill-treatment.D
No necessary and adequate trainings are put in place to prevent and investigate torture and ill-treatment.
Amend legislation on tortureD
Albeit the new Criminal Code (entered into force in 2018) codifies the offences of torture, the definitions of the crime enshrined therein and the corresponding regulation – concerning, for instance, statutes of limitation and compensation – remains at odds with international law
 Translation and dissemination of the decision D
The Views of the HRC have not been translated into Nepali nor widely disseminated.

Note these are unofficial gradings as the Human Rights Committee has not yet commented on implementation.

Efforts for Implementation

  1. Collective Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee, February 2021