27 rhino poachers imprisoned

- BINOD TRIPATHI, CHITWAN

Nov 2, 2013-

The Chitwan National Park has sent 27 people convicted of hunting and poaching rhinos to prison.

The national park administration, which is also authorised to investigate, carry out hearings and deliver verdict, had sent them to custody upon completion of their investigation.

The convicts, however, have the right to challenge the verdict in an appellate court.

According to Chief Conservation Officer Kamal Jung Kunwar, they had expedited the investigation process after receiving repeated complaints regarding the delayed sentencing of people taken into custody.

Some human rights groups had even accused of the park administration of violating human rights of the accused as they had served time in custody almost equal to their prison term.

Kunwar, however, said that investigation process sometimes becomes quite lengthy though they do not want any innocent people to suffer.

The national park that witnessed no hunting and poaching of animals in 2011 could not maintain the status for long.

The park administration has been harsh in its sentencing after two rhinos were killed in two years and the accused, who were released from custody deeming innocent, started being re-arrested one after the other. According to Kunwar, this scenario is one of the reasons behind the lengthy process for investigation and delivering the sentence.

Meanwhile, 80 people have still been languishing in the national park custody. Some of them have spent more than 15 years just in custody.

Form mid-May to mid-September this year, 30 accused were sent to custody after primary hearing.

 

Published: 03-11-2013 09:09

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