The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Forum for Protection of People's Rights, Nepal (PPR Nepal) regarding the torture inflicted on a 13-year-old girl and her mother by Nepal police officers at the Area Police Office, Anarmani Jhapa district, the eastern region of Nepal. The police tortured the two victims to extract information about some stolen gold. The victims belong to the local ethnic community.
According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Sunita Soren, (13), worked as a domestic helper for one year at the house of Mr. Niraj Chudal's at Birtamod of Jhapa district. Her mother Tallu Soren (42 years) is a daily wage laborer at Prithivinagar, also of Jhapa district. Mr. Niraj Chudal filed a complaint at the Anarmani Police Station that he had lost some gold from his house. The police arrested Sunita without any warrant and brought her to the Area Police Office, Anarmani on 20 December 2013 in order to investigate the alleged theft. The AHRC has received information that the officers started torturing the girl immediately after reaching the police station.
She was verbally abused and received mental torture. She was randomly beaten. To make it worse, pins were inserted in her fingers to make her confess to the alleged crime. Initially, Sunita denied the charge but eventually she could not tolerate the torture anymore. She gave up due to the continuous pain and the threat of electric shocks. She then confessed to the allegation of gold theft. The police officers asked her about the gold and to escape further torture she told them that she had given the gold to her mother even though neither she nor her mother knew anything about it.
The police came to her house at Prithivinagar of Jhapa district and arrested her mother Ms. Tallu Soren. The policemen who came to arrest her dragged Tallu and Sunita roughly and forcefully threw them inside the police van. They were physically and verbally abused inside the van. They were brought to the Area Police Office Anarmani and kept in illegal detention. The police officers did not provide any arrest warrant at this time.
In detention Mrs. Soren was randomly and continuously beaten all over her body. At the beginning, she also denied the allegation. However, she too was also forced to confess as she could not tolerate the torture anymore. Due to the severe torture she even tried to commit suicide but failed to do so. She confessed and gave a false statement that she took the gold and sold it in Bhadrapur bazaar for NRs. 2000 (around 21 USD). The Police came to Bhadrapur bazaar and searched for the gold shop but could not find it. At that time the police came to know that the victims had not stolen the gold.
The victims were released from the Area Police Office Anarmani after five days of severe and continuous torture. As the mother and daughter did not have any money to pay for the bus fare, they travelled to their home on foot. It took them 2 days to reach their home in Pashupatinagar.
The victim mother and daughter have bruises all over their bodies. Due to the torture, the mother cannot use her right hand properly. She also has rope-burn on her neck due to the attempted suicide. Due to the fear of further torture and threat to their lives, the victims could not tell their ordeal to anyone for a month. The police have since released them on bail but the victims fear that they might be further tortured when they go to the police station.
The victims are very poor. As both of them lost their jobs, they are having difficult times to manage their living. On top of it, the mother was dismissed from her work after the police took them.
The District Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bhuvaneshor Tiwari Incharge, Area Police Office Anarmani, denied torturing the two victims. He told that they were only brought for inquiry and released after the police found that they were not involved in the gold theft.
The AHRC is concerned about the physical and psychological condition of the victims. We demand that the victims should get proper medical treatment. They should be provided protection as they are living in fear of further torture. This is a serious case of torture of a woman and her child, so it should be promptly investigated and the police officers should be brought before a court of law. The victims should receive immediate interim relief and compensation.
The AHRC urges the Nepal government to ensure that such an incident is not repeated. It should take appropriate steps to prevent torture and provide immediate redress to torture victims.
Please send a letter to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and request immediate intervention on the allegations of torture. The officers who were involved must be subject to investigations and brought before the court of law.
The AHRC has written a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on this matter.