Rights groups denounce Nepal Speaker’s participation in IPU assemblyThey have demanded that the International Parliamentary Union cancel the invitation to Agni Sapkota.
A group of human rights organisations has taken exception to Speaker Agni Sapkota’s participation in the assembly of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Spain.
Accountability Watch Group, a network of human rights organizations and victims’ associations of Nepal, on Wednesday appealed to the international community to stop his participation in the event.
The rights bodies have also called on the Spanish government to open an investigation under the principles of Universal Jurisdiction for Sapkota’s alleged involvement in the crime committed during the Maoist insurgency.
In its letter addressed to Duarte Pacheco, president of the union, José Manuel Albares Bueno, minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain and José María Ridao Domínguez, Madrid’s envoy to India and Nepal, the group has said it is alarmed to learn that “the tainted person is participating in the international event.”
Sapkota on Wednesday evening left for Madrid to participate in the 143rd assembly of the union set to start Friday. He is leading a 10-member team which comprises parliamentarians and officials from the parliament secretariat.
“We urgently request the union to withdraw the invitation to Sapkota, a person against whom a police investigation for murder is pending,” reads the letter. “Similarly, we ask the Government of Spain to direct its immigration authorities not only to refuse Sapkota’s entry into the country but also to open an investigation under the principles of Universal Jurisdiction.”
Sapkota is alleged to have been involved in the April 2005 abduction, torture, disappearance and killing of Arjun Bahadur Lama from Dapcha in Kavrepalanchok. Lama was abducted by the cadres of the CPN (Maoist) on April 19, 2005 before he was killed.
The National Human Rights Commission has concluded in its own investigations that Lama was kept under the custody of the then rebel group and was killed after torture. The commission had also directed for the exhumation of his body.
Sapkota was elected a House Speaker on January 26 last year when cases against him were sub-judice at the Supreme Court.
The hearings on petitions against him have been deferred for more than 25 times.
“As a global organisation of 179 parliament bodies, and dedicated to rule of law, due process and human rights, the union must respond to this request from Nepal,”reads the letter. “The union’s slogan ‘For Democracy, For Everyone’ means first and foremost commitment to human rights and rule of law.”