Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Govt drops TADO casesOver 350 Maoist detainees to be freed

Nepal Government's cabinet Sunday revoked all the cases filed against Maoist leaders and cadres, including those against Prachanda, under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Act/Ordinance in different courts, ahead of the impending second round of peace talks with Maoists.
Besides, the cabinet also decided to drop ongoing investigations into terrorism-related crimes involving the Maoist rank and file, if any.
Over 350 Maoists, including senior Maoist leaders Prachanda, Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and most Maoist central leaders, are facing cases in different courts under the anti-terrorism law, known as TADA/TADO.
There are 43 cases filed under the anti-terrorism law, including those against Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai in Patan Appellate Court alone. The court allowed government attorneys to withdraw cases against the Maoist leadership today. Bhattarai was accused of murders, causing explosions and destruction of government properties in various places at different times.
In Kathmandu, 75 Maoist detainees were released on Monday following orders from Patan Appellate Court. According to government sources, the process of releasing Maoist detained outside the capital was going on until late Monday evening.
Earlier, the Office of the Attorney General ordered its entire appellate court branches to begin the process of withdrawing cases filed under TADO/TADA in their respective courts. As per the existing law, permission of the concerned courts, where the cases are being considered, is required for withdrawal of cases against the accused.
Though the government decided to withdraw terrorism-related cases against Maoists, it remained silent over the fate of the anti-terrorism law. The law is deemed as anti-human rights by national and international rights bodies.