05/04/2005, 00.00
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Fundamental rights still in limbo, say rights groups

Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists accuse Nepalese King Gyanendra of not lifting the suspension of fundamental rights despite the April 30 end to the state of emergency.

In a joint statement the three organisations said that the lifting of the state of emergency occurred almost simultaneously with the publication of an order by the Kathmandu District Authority "against public gatherings, meetings or any kind of protest programs in public spaces and roads".  Local officials have also reportedly been given the power to intervene in any "political program" that involves more than two people.  

Similarly, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Ordinance, with its draconian provision allowing up to one-year incommunicado detention, still remains in effect

"The lifting of the state of emergency might be a tactical ploy by the King to convince India to resume military aid," said Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch.

Since February 1 when the state of emergency was imposed, hundreds of political leaders and ordinary citizens have been arrested, newspapers have been heavily censored and violence and killings have increased across the country

Although several senior political leaders have been released, hundreds of other party officials are still in jail.

After February 1, Nepal has been isolated by the international community. British and Indian military assistance has been stopped and humanitarian organisations are deciding whether to halt economic and food aid as well.

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