Facts of the Case
On 7 April 2011, Mr. Prashanta Pandey, a medical assistant at a medical shop in Jhulinipur, Rupandehi, was forcibly arrested, by three police officers from Rupandehi District Police Office without any warrant for the arrest. Mr. Pandey was taken to Lumbini Zonal Police Office, where he was repeatedly interrogated. Mr. Pandey was subjected to torture and ill treatment, including beatings with batons and sticks, kicking and punching and death-threats. He was also made to urinate on an electric heater, kept blindfolded and made to stand for 50 hours, with no food, water or medical treatment in the custody by the police officials. Between 7 and 13 April 2011, Mr. Pandey was kept incommunicado. . Eventually, he was forced to sign a confession about his involvement in the planning and execution of a bomb blast of 27 March 2011. On 13 April 2011, Mr. Pandey was shown in public, labeled as a terrorist and a murderer.
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Search for Justice
On 8 April 2011, Mr. Pandey’s mother filed a missing person’s report in the Rupandehi District Police Office. The Police denied her son was kept in the custody. On the same day, she also submitted a complaint to the office of the National Human Rights Commission in Butwal to intervene to establish the whereabouts of Mr. Pandey. However, the Commission took no took no formal steps on this. On 8 May 2011, Mr. Pandey was brought before the Rupandehi District Court (RDC). On 11 May 2011, the Court ordered to keep him in pretrial detention. Mr. Pandey was held in pretrial detention at the District Prison in Bhairahawa for a year until his trial started. On 13 June 2012, the RDC considered the forced confession valid and no investigation into his claim of being subjected to torture and forced confession were initiated. On 16 October 2012, the Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance submitted an urgent appeal on behalf of Mr. Pandey to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. On 12 December 2012, Mr. Pandey’s mother filed a complaint on his behalf before RDC, stating that the police had tortured Mr. Pandey. However, the registrar refused to file the complaint following the 35 days statutory limit provisioned under Compensation relating to Torture Act, 1996. On 24 January 2013, Mr. Pandey lodged a complaint in the Supreme Court seeking for compensation and requesting an exemption from the statutory limit being in consistent to the gravity of the offense. No decision was ruled from the Supreme Court. On 13 February 2014, he also submitted a formal request to the NHRC for the investigation and reparation for acts of torture.. Mr. Pandey submitted the case to the Human Rights Committee on 20 February 2014.
On 20 February 2014, TRIAL International submitted an individual communication on behalf of Mr. Pandey to the Human Rights Committee (HRC). The HRC issued its decision on the case on 30 October 2018, declaring Nepal internationally responsible for the violation of numerous provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and indicating various measures of reparation, including an effective investigation on the case; the prosecution of those responsible; the expunction of the author’s criminal record as connected to the complaint, and medical and psychological care in his favour.
Read the decision: English
The Committee recommended Nepal to conduct a thorough and effective investigation into Mr. Pandey’s allegation of torture and provide information of such to Mr. Pandey. Nepal must prosecute, try and punish those responsible and make them public and expunge Mr. Pandey’s criminal record as connected to the complaint. Nepal must ensure psychological, rehabilitation and medical treatment made available to Mr. Pandey. Nepal should also take necessary steps to prevent similar violations from future occurrence; ensure criminalization and appropriate remedies for torture and enforced disappearance based on gravity of crimes by amending 35 days statutory limit for compensation in accordance with international standards.
Efforts for Implementation
- A Public Interest Litigation filed at the Supreme Court of Nepal demanding the amendment of statute of limitation on the cases of torture, citing the HRC decision of Pandey v Nepal July 2020