No amnesty plan for inmates: Govt

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 23, 2015-

The government has turned down requests from human rights activists and inmates to grant amnesty to inmates after the devastating April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks damaged jails in quake-affected districts.

The Home Ministry has instead said that it is planning to relocate inmates to safer houses. “The government cannot grant amnesty to jailbirds. There is a need to relocate them to safer places in accordance with international standards,” said Home Ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal.

Forty prisons were destroyed in the earthquakes, forcing hundreds of inmates out in the open.  

Dhakal made it clear that the government will not grant amnesty to those convicted in serious crimes such as narcotics smuggling, rape, voilence against women, among others, but hinted at waiving the remaining jail term of inmates with good characters, who had already served half the term.

Over 200 inmates have fled various prisons with others taking shelter under tents in the quake-affected districts, according to the Department of Prison Management. Local authorities are struggling to provide shelter to inmates in the districts after a number of jails were severely damaged.

Those inmates taking shelter under tents are demanding amnesty, seeking their involvement in the relief distribution and rebuilding operations.  

Himnath Duwadi, head of the department, said that 216 prisoners had fled from Sindhupalchok prison house which was severely damaged in the disaster, while four more prisoners ran away from the Kathmandu Central Jail.  

Sixteen prisoners died in the Kathmandu Central Jail after its buildings collapsed in the quake. The remaining jail birds are taking shelter under tents. The prison authorities have launched a nationwide manhunt to track down the fleeing inmates.

Published: 24-05-2015 06:38

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