Bill to criminalize torture

Bring foreigners under anti-torture act: MPs

Published On: September 3, 2016 01:40 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Sept 3: Members of Parliament (MP) have demanded that any foreign national who tortures a Nepali citizen abroad should be brought within the ambit of the anti-torture bill which is now under discussion in Parliament.

Altogether 10 MPs registering different amendments to the bill have proposed that the provision relating to brutal, inhuman and degrading acts need to be made more stringent.

Under the existing provision, a crime committed against a Nepali citizen in a foreign country by any foreign national will be taken as a crime committed in Nepal in the event the foreigner is found within Nepal and is not covered by an extradition treaty.

However, several lawmakers including Prakash Jwala, Rewati Raman Bhandari and Pemba Lama of CPN-UML, have registered separate amendments to the provision, demanding that it should be made more stringent.

Jwala has proposed the inclusion of a separate sub-clause under which “a case can be filed against a person found within Nepali territory irrespective of where the crime was committed and irrespective of the nationality of the individual.”

His proposal is for taking legal action against such a foreign national without taking any initiative for extradition.

Bhandari for his part has proposed to include a provision that makes it mandatory to punish a foreign national involved in the aforementioned crime if the said foreigner isn't punished for the crime in his/her own country.

Likewise, the amendment proposal registered by lawmakers including Pemba Lama and Shiva Kumari Gotame has proposed legal action in Nepal against the accused foreign national if the foreigner is from a country other than the countries with which Nepal has signed an extradition treaty.

The anti-torture act has become urgent as over three million Nepali migrants have been working in the Middle East and various other countries and they often face attacks or torture or other degrading treatment from government or nongovernment actors.

The lawmakers have also proposed increasing the jail term and fines for those convicted of such  crimes. They have proposed that the jail term should be up to seven years. The existing provision in the bill has proposed a jail term of up to five years.

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