Demo against prez pardon for criminals
The Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES) staged a protest in front of the President’s Office on Monday, in a bid to prevent the abuse of presidential powers to grant reprieve to criminals under Article 276 of the Constitution. The demonstrators demanded a serious investigation to check if financial manipulations influenced the process of granting presidential pardons.
Article 276 of the Constitution states that the President may, in accordance with law, grant pardons, suspend, commute or remit any sentence passed by any Court, judicial or quasi-judicial body or administrative authority or body.
President Ramchandra Paudel, acting on a recommendation from the Council of Ministers, had remitted the term of Yograj Dhakal ‘Regal’, a murder convict doing a 20-year term, on the occasion of the Constitution Day.
Recent presidential moves, including this particular pardon, have raised concerns among the public, including human rights campaigners.
The protesters displayed placards pointing out that the recent pardon was an act of injustice against the victim and the family. They also wanted to know if the high office wants to boost public faith in the democratic republic or spread hatred through such moves.
The placards also displayed messages calling one and all not to glorify murder and violence and to expose crimes that the state has committed in the name of granting amnesty. Through their placards, the protesters also sought to drive the point home that there can be no amnesty for heinous crimes, including murder.
From among the protesters, police arrested 11 people—founder president of HURPES Krishna Pahadi, president Ramkrishna Baral, advisor Uttam Pudasaini, general secretary Renuka Paudel, treasurer Kiran Dhakal, secretary Chandramani Banjara, central member Diwakar Pudasaini, Kathmandu Branch president Bhagwan Pudasaini, rights activists Rita Adhikari, Madhu Pudasaini and Lakshman Pudaisaini.
An alleged gangster and the then president of Tarun Dal Banke-3, Regal used to ‘extort transporters’ operating buses between Nepal and India. Regal had killed Chetan Manandhar at a hotel in Surkhet Road area on 13 July 2015, per court verdicts. On 24 April 2018, a bench of Banke district court judge Bishnu Subedi had convicted Regal as the mastermind behind the crime and sentenced him to 20 years behind bars.
Regal, at large after the murder, had surrendered before the court after police launched a series of encounters against gangsters.
Manandhar’s family had objected to the presidential move and his wife, Bharati Sherpa, had moved the apex court stating that convict Regal’s release against the Constitution.
The Supreme Court then had ordered the government to furnish written clarifications within seven days regarding the case.
The Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs and District Administration Office, Banke have been made the defendants in the case.
Responding to a writ from Bharati Sherpa, the victim’s wife, a bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Sharma had ordered the government to provide security to the victim’s family and the authorities to submit to it copies of all relevant decisions related to the case and ordered the Attorney-General to appear in the court in person on the day of the hearing.
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