Maina murder case: Amnesty seeks review of Maj Basnet’s acquittal

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 20, 2017-

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has requested the Attorney General’s Office to review the decision of the Kavre District Court to acquit Major Niranjan Basnet in the Maina Sunuwar murder case.

In a statement on Friday, the Amnesty asked AG Raman Shrestha to review the decision and pursue the appeal against the court’s judgment, as requested by Sunuwar’s mother Devi to the district prosecutor and the AG’s office on 18 May 2017.

A failure to pursue criminal accountability against Major Basnet, based on the reasoning as set out in the district court’s judgment, would likely lead to a denial of justice and a perpetuation of the culture of impunity that has plagued Nepal in the conflict and post-conflict years, according to the statement.

The AI has reminded that it is the duty of Nepal, under both Nepal’s laws and international treaties to which the country is a party, to prosecute persons suspected of serious human rights violations, such as torture, enforced disappearance and unlawful killings.

“Victims of such violations, including families of those directly abused, have a right to an effective remedy and reparation for the injuries suffered. The failure to pursue justice in this case would be incompatible with those legal duties, frustrating the objectives of holding perpetrators accountable and securing redress for victims,” read the statement.

Maina Sunuwar at the age of 15 was subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and unlawful killing after a covert military operation, which included the involvement of then Captain Niranjan Basnet on 17 February 2004.

In a historic decision on the war-era human rights violation in Nepal, the district court on April 16 ordered life imprisonment of three former Army officials convicted of killing the teenage girl after torture in the NA barracks. Maina, who was arrested from her home in Kharelthok, succumbed to severe torture on February 17, 2004.

The district court convicted then NA Col Babi Khatri and Captain duo Amit Pun and Sunil for the murder and announced 20-year jail for them. However, acquitted Basnet is the only serving Army official.

Published: 20-05-2017 08:07

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