8-14 January 2016 #790

Denied pardon

Tufan Neupane in himalkhabar.com, 7 January

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the government to not implement its decision to pardon Maoist leader Balkrishna Dhungel.

In 2009 Dhungel was convicted by the SC of murdering Ujjain Kumar Shrestha. However, the Baburam Bhattarai-led government recommended to the Office of President to pardon him in 2011.

Sabitri Shrestha, Ujjain’s elder sister, filed a writ at the SC seeking nullification of the Bhattarai government’s decision.

A constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha on Thursday directed the defendants to not pardon Dhungel, arguing that ‘the convict cannot be granted clemency in absence of clear legal provisions about clemency’.

The bench that included senior judges Sushil Karki, Baidyanath Upadhyay, Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra also rejected clemency for Dhungel on the grounds that he did not comply with the SC’s verdict.

In 2004, the district court of Okhaldhunga had ordered life imprisonment and confiscation of property of Dhungel. He moved the appellate court in Janakpur, which overturned the district court’s verdict. After walking out of the jail, Dhungel was chosen by the UCPN (M) as a member of the first Constituent Assembly (CA).

Two years later, the SC overruled the appellate court’s decision but Dhungel is still walking free. Ujjain’s family has demanded that he be jailed again.

The UCPN (M) has said that Ujjain was killed during the conflict and the case against Dhungel must be dealt with by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But Ujjain’s family has claimed that he was killed because he married a girl belonging to Dhungel’s clan.

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