Friday, July 29, 2005


Compensation from the state after four years

Kathmandu july 28-Chief District Officer Niranjan Baral handed over a cheque of Rs fifty thousand to Amar Narayan Loniya of Devgaun VDC-1 whose left ankle had been displaced following torture in police custody around five years back.
(Photo courtesy: CVICT Nepal)
Loniya, 30, was arrested on charges of holding a counterfeit citizenship certificate and was put behind the bars for almost a month and tortured.
Following his release, Nawalparasi district chapter of the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT) had lodged a case at the District Court.
According to CVICT, the court issued a verdict asking the government to provide compensation to Loniya and to initiate departmental action against perpetrators in June, 2001. In response, the police filed a case at Appellate Court in Butwal. However, the Appellate Court also ruled in Loniya's favor in December 2003.
But, the battle was not over yet.
Supported by CVICT, Loniya had to lobby at the Home and Finance ministries and the local administration for months before he actually received the compensation.
According to CVICT, of 107 cases filed by it across the country for torture compensation, 68 cases have been settled so far. Of them, court has ruled in favour of 20 victims only.
Loniya is the only torture victim to have been compensated by the state so far.
Compensation Against Torture Act, passed by the parliament in 1996, makes it mandatory for the state to compensate victims of torture and initiate departmental action against the perpetrator.
Nepal is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, 1975, and the country’s constitution also bars use of torture for any purpose. But rights groups say incidences of torture as a means to punish the opponents have skyrocketed in the country since the launching of the Maoist ‘people’s war’ more than nine years ago.
Of late, people have been facing difficulties to report incidences of torture and seek medical, legal and psycho-social counseling, they say.

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