Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bibek luitel murder case: Lawyers barred from defending accused

A group of around a hundred people on tuesday barred two advocates from defending a murder accused in the Supreme Court. The advocates were to defend Sakila Manandhar, one of the accused in the Bibek Luitel murder case.Nepal Bar Association (NBA) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA)condemned the incident and the threats issued against advocates Lava Prasad Mainali and Tikaram Bhattarai.The two lawyers withdrew from the case after the group forced the duo to do so in the morning. The lawyers were preparing for the case when the incident happened.While the group forced Mainali to sign a commitment that he would not defend the accused, it also forced Bhattarai to promise not to take up the case.The two advocates informed the Supreme Court about the developments and said they will not plead in the case. NBA and SCBA representatives and the two advocates also met Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and informed him of the incident.“He assured us that he will take up the matter with chiefs of security agencies and place it before a full court meeting of justices,” Bhattarai said.The advocates also registered complaints in the NBA and the SCBA.The accused, who is is detention, had moved the apex court challenging the Patan Appellate Court’s refusal to grant her bail.A single bench of Justice Rajendra Koirala that was supposed to hear the case decided to put off the hearing after the advocates filed the complaints.The NBA and the SCBA have taken the incident as a threat on the rule of law and professional independence of lawyers.“This is a serious matter and the government must take steps to control such activities in the future,” a press release issued by SCBA secretary Shiva Rijal said.

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