Two weeks ago you bravely published a translation of the Kantipur article 'How Maina was killed' (From the Nepali Press, #313). Shocking though the detail was, I write to say that it did not prepare me for reading the horrendous full account in the army Court Of Inquiry report. One sentence in it makes all clear: 'in the process of questioning by torture, in not being able to withstand the torture, her death occurred.' In other words, the torture and the torturers killed Maina. It is surely a matter of extreme shame that the three officers who personally ordered and directed this killing were not appropriately charged, and continue to serve on in the army today, even in the same ranks.
All armies worthy of the name prize honour above all else, and I know the Nepal Army well enough to say that no one in its ranks would dispute that assertion. The reason is both simple and profound. It is what makes soldiering, the profession of arms, an honourable one, to be followed with pride, and which separates it from barbarism. But, sadly, that is the only appropriate word I can find for the behaviour that led directly to the death of Maina.
As Nepal moves into a new era, the new Chief of Army Staff, General Katuwal, has rightly and publicly declared his commitment to ensuring that the army operates within the law of the land. That law requires that the killing of civilians by soldiers to be dealt with by the civil courts. There could be no better signal that Nepal is indeed changing for the better in regard to the observance of human rights than for the COAS to call in the civil police for a full, open investigation into the killing of Maina with a view to having the alleged perpetrators appropriately charged under criminal law, and tried before the civilian courts. I appeal to him to do so.
In the same spirit, I appeal to the new government, without further delay, to honour its international obligations and declare torture to be a criminal offence under the law of Nepal.
There can be no bringing back Maina, but surely your readers would agree that the actions proposed above would be a worthy memorial to her young life, so tragically and brutally ended while she was still at school.