Stop using excessive force, Amnesty tells Nepali police

February 21st, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 21 (IANS) Nepal’s police are using “excessive and lethal force” to disrupt protests by members of the Madhesi community, the human rights group Amnesty International believes. Police were reported to have fired at a group of protestors in Siraha district in the Terai, killing a 22-year-old protester, this week.

“We recognise that the Nepali police are trying to contain what in some cases have been violent protests. However, by firing live ammunition into crowds and beating demonstrators after their arrest, the police have gone beyond what is acceptable use of force in situations such as this,” said Tim Parritt, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme.

“At times the police showed restraint when faced with crowds throwing stones, but in other cases the police appear to have used disproportionate and excessive force despite assurances from the Home Ministry that security forces had been instructed to show maximum restraint,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

Amnesty urged the Nepali Police and Armed Police Force to use force only when absolutely necessary to save lives.

It said the government should immediately send clear instructions to the police only to use proportionate force, conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the police killing and beatings, and prosecute any police officers who are suspected of having used excessive force against protesters.

It also called upon the organisers of the protests, including the United Democratic Madhesi Front, to ensure their members and supporters “show due restraint and responsibly exercise their right to peaceful protest”.

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