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Appeal to Release Gopal Siwakoti “Chintan” and Other Political Detainees in Nepal

by Justice in South Asia Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 1:26 PM

Mr. Gopal Siwakoti “Chintan,” a prominent human rights activist in Nepal, along with a number of other activists, has been detained in very adverse conditions without charges by the increasingly dictatorial monarchy. This is a letter demanding his release – please endorse as well as send a copy to the Embassy of Nepal.

According to reliable information, Mr. Gopal Siwakoti “Chintan,” a prominent human rights defender, Executive Director of the Water and Energy Users’ Federation of Nepal (WAFED), International Convener of the NGO Forum on ADB, along with dozens of other persons are being kept in detention by Nepalese authorities since they were arrested by the police on 2nd February 2006 from a public meeting in Baneshwor, Nepal.

Based on reliable information, we believe the detainees are being kept in one room at the temporary detention centre, which has not toilet facilities or water. We believe that no formal charges have been filed against Mr. Siwakoti “Chintan” and the other detainees. However, the police have served a three-month detention order on the detainees, which, we have been informed, the detainees have refused to accept.

NGO Forum on ADB, (a network of civil society organisations which engage in monitoring the activities of the Asian Development Bank), Asian Women’s Human Rights Council, Jubilee South, and Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development are deeply concerned about the continued health and safety of Mr. Siwakoti “Chintan” and the others detained with him. Among other things, we are concerned with the manner of detention without any basic health and sanitation amenities, which is a violation of international civil and political rights.

We are also deeply concerned that Mr. Siwakoti “Chintan” and others along with him are being detained with no evidence of having committed any crime or misdemeanor or any breach of public peace. Nor have any formal and definitive charges been served against the detainees. Mr. Siwakoti “Chintan’s” detention will severely hinder his professional activities that he is obliged to discharge in his various roles in his organisation WAFED and as the International Convener of the NGO Forum on ADB.

We therefore strongly urge that:
The persons detained, including Mr. Gopal Siwakoti “Chintan” and many other human rights defenders, journalists, peace workers, party activists and ordinary citizens be immediately and unconditionally released without any harm to enable them to continue their work unhindered.

Yours truly,

(This statement has already been endorsed by more than 120 human rights, economic justice, women’s, and environmental organizations from every continent.)

To endorse this statement, please send your name, organizational affiliation, and contact information to NGO Forum on ADB at <secretariat@forum-adb.org>.

Also, please send a copy of this statement by fax or e-mail to:
The Royal Nepalese Embassy
2131 Leroy Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202 667 4550, Fax: 202 667 5534
Email: info@nepalembassyusa.org
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