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NA protecting officials in Maina’s case: Lawyers

- Post Report, LALITPUR

Feb 17, 2017- Thirteen months after the Kavre district court’s order, the Nepal Army has not sent the dossiers of its officials in the Maina Sunar case, lawyers said.

Soldiers had held 14-year-old Maina hostage to arrest her mother, who had witnessed the murder of another teenager, Rina Rasaili, in Kavre. 

The National Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had exhumed Maina’s body from the NA’s Panchkhal Barracks in 2007.

“We are considering a contempt of court against the Army,” said lawyer Pushpa Raj Poudel. “Nepal Police also did not cooperate in the case.”

On January 14, 2015, the Kavre court had issued an order to reopen the case of Maina, who was killed in detention at the Army barracks in 2004. The case had been adjourned for two years. The court had issued an arrest warrant against four NA officials--Bobi Khatri, Sunil Prasad Adhikari, Amit Pun, and Niranjan Basnet, on the charge of illegal detention, torture, and killing.

The NA has been claiming that the four had already been tried in the military court. However, it has not given any dossiers related to the verdict. Police had failed to arrest Major Niranjan Basnet upon his return from a UN peacekeeping mission in Chad.

Speaking at a programme organised to mark the 13th death anniversary of Maina, member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Shree Krishna Regmi said the TRC would like to look into the case sub judice in court, but the law bars it.

“Truth has already been established in this case, but the legal provision does not allow us to look into cases sub judice in court,” said Subedi. “It’s reasonable to argue that reparations in such cases should be recommended. However, questions still arise whether the commission should recommend reparations in cases that it is not allowed to talk about.”

Rights activist Charan Prasai criticised the TRC for remaining silent while Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal assured Army officials of full protection in war-era incidents. 

The prime minister, in a visit to the Army headquarters, had pledged that they would be safe from prosecution against the incidents that occurred during the decade-long insurgency.

“I’ve been speaking up against the criminals, risking my life, in the hope that such incidents do not repeat in future,” said Maina’s mother Devi Sunar. “We don’t want death sentence for the murderers of my daughter, but I want to see them punished by the law. Is that too much to ask for?”

Published: 17-02-2017 10:00

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