ICJ calls on the government of Nepal to respect Supreme Court orders and release illegally detained student leaders

The ICJ today strongly condemned the illegal re-arrest of a student leader by dozens of armed police shortly after 5pm in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The release of student leaders Rajendra Rai and Roop Narayan Shrestha was ordered today by a Supreme Court habeas corpus decision. Following the decision police surrounded the District Court building and at the time of the release pursued the fleeing students, capturing one and removing him from the scene in a police vehicle. Police continued to pursue the second student leader.

“The Government of Nepal continues to surpass its already dismal record of contempt for the Supreme Court’s habeas corpus decisions,” said ICJ Secretary-General Nicholas Howen.

“This is a well-documented and continuing practice. This most recent re-arrest comes just eleven days after the re-arrest of student leader Gagan Thapa” added Nicholas Howen. “The ICJ is increasingly concerned about the pattern of targeting student leaders who are defending democratic rights in Nepal.”

The ICJ called upon the Government of Nepal to immediately release illegally detained student leaders and to comply fully with all Supreme Court orders. The ICJ also called on the Supreme Court to issue appropriate contempt orders against responsible government officials.

The re-arrest was carried out in the presence of United Nations international human rights monitors. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to closely monitor the situation.

Nepal-respect court orders-press reelease-2005 (full text in English, PDF)

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