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SC allows arrest, prosecution of Maoist ex-lawmaker Rai

supreme-court-copy_20140905092603KATHMANDU:  The Supreme Court has paved the way for the arrest and prosecution of UCPN (Maoist) leader and former Constituent Assembly member Keshav Rai, who is charged with murders committed during the armed insurgency period.

A bench of Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha and Justice Om Prakash Mishra on Tuesday quashed writ petitions filed by Rai and his colleagues against arrest warrants issued against them by Okhaldhunga District Court.

Rai had moved the apex court on December 8, 2010, arguing that the arrest warrant issued against him ran counter to legal provisions and the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord.
The district court had issued the arrest warrants against Rai and others for not appearing in court despite repeated orders to do so.

Following the court order, Rai had filed a writ petition at the apex court, and a single bench of then Justice Avadesh Kumar Yadav had stayed the prosecution against Rai, stating that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would deal with all insurgency era cases.

In the wake of the stay order, Rai’s colleagues Mohan Kumar Khadka, Kul Bahadur Khatri, Anita Ghimire and some others also moved the apex court with similar petitions.

However, Tuesday’s ruling has not only annulled the stay order but also paved the way for the arrest and prosecution of Rai and the others.

They have been facing the charge of murdering Guru Luintel, a school teacher from Ghorpani Phulbari of Okhaldhunga, after abducting him for 14 days in 2003, as well as charges of murdering local Nepali Congress cadres Padam Bahadur Tamang and Masta Bahadur Tamang at Rampur, Baruneshwar VDC.

The district prosecutor had charge-sheeted Rai and the others after family members of the victims lodged written complaints with the police against the cadres of the then rebel CPN (Maoists).

The Supreme Court on January 7 annulled a government recommendation for presidential clemency for UCPN (Maoist) leader and former lawmaker Bal Krishna Dhungel, who was convicted of the murder of Ujjain Kumar Shrestha.

–  REPUBLICA

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