The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nepal brings out shocking stories of torturer, killings and human rights abuses from Bhairabnath Batallion, [Royal] Nepal Army’s counterpart to Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghrahib.
(This is the second part. Here is the first part.
[UWB Warning: Hold your breath before actually starting to read this horrific detail of torture and abuse.]
“They would shove my head underwater maybe twenty or twenty-five times, asking me questions. Sometimes I would become unconscious. Sometimes they would punch me in the stomach when I was underwater or give me electric shocks when they pulled my up. I would feel the shock in my whole body and lose consciousness. One time I asked to urinate. They did not take me to the toilet. They took me to another spot and told me to piss. Below, I could see an electric heater coil.”
-A detainee tortured inside the army barrack
The following report focuses on conditions of detention and allegations of torture during the period from September to December 2003.
Torture and ill-treatment
Torture and ill-treatment of detainees during interrogation at Maharajgunj barracks was routine and systematic, with a special team carrying out the tasks of torture and interrogation. Witness testimony describes a pattern of severe torture during the early days and weeks of an individual’s detention, which extended as long as the RNA believed that the victim could provide useful information. Such torture was also applied later in 2004 in order to induce some detainees to renounce their allegiance to the CPN-M. In addition to this systematic and deliberate torture, former detainees describe how they were subjected to “informal” or “unofficial” torture consisting of regular beatings given either arbitrarily on a whim, sometimes under the influence of alcohol or hashish, or as punishment for disobedience.
This section focuses primarily although not exclusively, on the experience of torture for those held in the Hall, rather than the Garage, since most of the disappeared were held in the Hall, and would have been subjected to such treatment. “Formal” torture “Formal” torture is the term used by detainees to refer to the deliberate and systematic torture to which they were subjected during interrogation. OHCHR has documented a sufficient number of cases to conclude that a significant number of detainees were subjected to various methods of torture, including beating with plastic pipes on the lower back, legs, and soles of the feet, submersion in water (‘submarino’), and electric shocks, during the period from September to December 2003.
In almost all cases, victims of this torture, including women, were made first to remove their clothing, and were subjected to continuous abusive and degrading language. In addition, there were acts of torture involving sexual humiliation of both male and female detainees. A detainee could be a victim of such treatment only once, or repeatedly during several months, sometimes more than once per day. Medical assistance was regularly provided to victims, including intravenous saline drips often following loss of consciousness. Formal torture began with the removal of a detainee from his or her place of detention. This usually occurred at night between 6pm and 10pm.
In the Hall, detainees would hear the single door open, followed by the sound of a voice ordering that whoever is taken should not speak. At other times, particularly in the Garage, a guard would approach the targeted detainee, get his attention with a kick or jab usually with a black plastic pipe, and escort the detainee out of the room. When guards approached in this way, detainees knew they were being taken for a period of interrogation and likely torture in the area of the Inquiry Tents. Those who were not selected at any given moment were subjected on a nightly basis, usually from 6pm to 10pm, to the repeated sound of screaming and pleas as four to five new and old detainees were being tortured in or just outside of the nearby Inquiry Tents.
Sometimes torture and interrogation occurred with groups of two or more detainees present. One former detainee in the Hall recalled that the screaming and the torture would reach a peak and then, “suddenly the sound stopped. Fainting. Unconscious. When we heard that, we were very troubled.” Another former detainee described his constant shaking as he lay handcuffed behind his back and blindfolded in the Hall, forced to listen to what he had already experienced and could anticipate might happen again to him. When the anonymous new victim was returned to the Hall, the detainees quickly learned his or her identity through whispered communication, but often they had been able to identify the person from the sound of his voice shouting or screaming from the area of the Inquiry Tents.
As a result of this daily routine, most of the detainees experienced depression in addition to fluctuating levels of fear, believing that they would eventually be killed. One detainee described a typical torture session: “My hands were tied. I was naked. They asked if I knew about certain killings. ‘Were you there? Did you help anyone? If you don’t say the truth’, they told me, ‘we have SLRs [self-loading rifles]. After a half hour you will go to heaven.’ Two persons, one on my arms, another on my legs, took me and drowned [submerged] me, for half an hour, in the water pond. It was dirty water. Then they pulled me out and asked questions. But I had no answer. I cried and cried. Then they got me outside and started to beat me: fists, legs apart, all privacy [gone]. [They used an] iron rod; how many times, I forget. I became unconscious. [Two days 9
later] I became conscious. Slowly I moved my hands. My whole body was covered in blood. My vest was stuck to my skin. I could not move my legs because of the swelling.”
One former detainee in the Hall described his first experience of torture: ”The door [to the Hall] opened. I heard the sound of boots on the floor. Someone grabbed my arm. I said, “Sir”, but my mouth was covered and they took me outside. We walked about forty or fifty steps from the Hall. They put me in a chair, and I brushed against what felt like a tent. They asked me questions about Maoists, and I kept repeating that I [did not have such information]. Then one said, “let’s kill him.” They took me from the tent and sat me down against a wall for a few minutes. Then they stood me up and walked me several steps. They took off my handcuffs and I heard someone give an order, “get his clothes off”. Then another said to me, “take off your clothes.” I kept on my underwear but someone grabbed it and pulled it off. My head was covered with a black hood tied at the neck. My handcuffs were tightened, “click, click, click,” behind my back, much more tightly than normal.
Then they beat me with plastic pipes and shouted, “Tell us! Tell us! What level of Maoist are you?” [using the lowest form of address, also used for animals]. Two or three kept hitting me with plastic pipes. Since I was blindfolded, I could not protect myself, but I tried to bend over to shield my head. Then they beat me on the back and one guy kicked me really hard [points to the side of his abdomen]. It was extremely painful. I said nothing. Then, while I was lying on the ground, one of them said, “let him go swimming.” Two of them grabbed my arms and took me to a nearby place. Then two people grabbed my legs and held me upside-down. My head was forced underwater in a big drum about one meter wide. I tried to raise my head, but I was held down by their boots against my shoulders. When they lifted me up, I choked and gasped for air. They repeated this.
Then I felt a powerful electric shock. I became rigid and noises came from my mouth. I collapsed. Then they lowered me again into the water. The next thing I remember was waking up in the Hall, with all of my clothes on except for my underwear. I could not move. Another detainee lying next to me was patting me on my back. There was a tube in my arm and a bag of saline hanging on a stand. At about 7 in the morning, this was removed by a medical assistant. My hands were again cuffed in front. I could barely walk, but I managed to make it somehow to the toilet. Inside, I lifted my blindfold and saw that my thighs were black and blue and covered in blisters. A guard later said to me when he saw wounds from the electric shock, “you must have stolen a mango and got bitten by an ant.” I found out later that the guards urinated in the water container.
It was round, made of brass. I saw it about 15 or 20 days later by peeking when I went to the toilet.” Another detainee in the Hall described a similar pattern of questions, beatings, submersion in water, and electric shocks (also referred to as “ant bites”).Unlike the previous victim, this detainee was repeatedly subjected to this torture during a period of two months. He described the different forms of torture as follows: “There was physical torture and mental torture, like when they showed you how they were beating someone else. I was usually taken to the tents in front of the Hall where a hood was put over my head. They would ask questions before and after torture but sometimes just tortured me. They used to beat me with plastic pipes until I fell to the ground.
Then someone would ask, “what sort of ant bite would you like? Japanese or American?” The American ‘bite’ was higher voltage. They jabbed me with the electricity all over my body, but mostly on the soles of my feet and on my back [points to his upper back]. Then they would ask me, “You want to have some daal?” [lentil soup]. They would shove my head into filthy water that filled a big cauldron sunk into the ground. They would shove my head underwater maybe twenty or twenty-five times, asking me questions. Sometimes I would become unconscious. Sometimes they would punch me in the stomach when I was underwater or give me electric shocks when they pulled my up. I would feel the shock in my whole body and lose consciousness. One time I asked to urinate. They did not take me to the toilet. They took me to another spot and told me to piss. Below, I could see an electric heater coil.
When I urinated, I felt the shock enter my body. I woke up much later, lying in the Hall. There was saline in my arm. My genitals were swollen and painful. Later a doctor told me that I could not ever have an erection again. The damage is permanent. I heard that one person died as a result of electric shock. Months later a guard [in Maharajgunj] told me, ‘We’re using ants less now’.”
Four of eight female detainees held in the Garage have not been seen since December 2003: Rebkhala Tiwari, Kaushalya Pokharel, Renuka Dulal, and Durga Bishenke. All were arrested between September and December 2003. Another two female detainees held in a separate location have also not been seen since December 2003: Nirmala Bhandari, arrested on 15 September 2003, and a girl under 16 whose name has not been confirmed. One or more of these women may have been pregnant at the time of arrest. OHCHR received credible and consistent reports that female detainees were subjected to physical and verbal sexual abuse, sometimes by intoxicated officers. Witness testimony indicates that some women had their clothing removed during interrogation.
OHCHR received multiple and consistent testimony regarding the torture of those who subsequently disappeared. For instance, three former detainees have provided testimony about the torture of Budi Lama Tamang, who was arrested by the Bhairabnath battalion together with Kaushalya Pokharel from Dukuchhap VDC, Lalitpur District, on 29 November 2003. The first witness stated: “Budi Lama was so badly tortured that he could not even lie down on a hay-filled carpet that they gave him in the Hall. I gave him my carpet and I helped him once to remove his shirt. It was stuck to his back with blood and pus. I remember his fingernails were infected from pins being forced underneath. It was about Mangsir 2060 [November – December 2003].
I never saw him again after Poush 2060 [December 2003 – January 2004]” A second one stated: “I remember Budi slept near me at one point. He arrived in the Hall in Mangsir 2060. He was tortured a lot. When he came back to the Hall sometimes, I remember his whole body would be shaking. He could not speak without his voice quivering. He was bleeding on different parts of his body. One time I remember there was a saline bag hanging near him, with a tube in his arm.” A third one confirmed: “I remember one time someone was screaming in the tents nearby. I was in the Garage. When someone was being tortured, the other detainees would whisper to each other, trying to identify the person. I remember that people whispered his name: Budi Lama. I remember his screams.”
Former detainees continue to suffer the psychological and physical consequences of ill-treatment. Physical consequences include chronic pain in joints and in the lower back, partial loss of bladder control, and other symptoms. A forensic report made available to OHCHR concludes that “uncountable” scars on one victim’s back are consistent with beating by long objects.
Psychological consequences are largely undiagnosed, but victims interviewed by OHCHR describe insomnia, nightmares, and temporary periods when they are unable to distinguish past and present.
Participation of medical profession in torture
According to several testimonies, members of the medical profession were involved in the torture, ill-treatment and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, in that they resuscitated those who fell unconscious and treated the wounds without apparently questioning the authorities concerned regarding the treatment meted out. Their care appeared to sustain and facilitate ongoing torture and other ill-treatment. RNA officers monitored their work and sometimes intervened to limit the degree of care that they were able to provide: “I could feel nothing. All of my body was uncovered. Then it was early morning. I could hear birds chirping. Someone came with medical instruments. He was starting to nurse me.
‘Sir, you are very damaged. I will help you to dress.’ Then another came and hit me in the backside with his boot and ordered the man not to nurse me. ‘It’s no use treating him. Today we are killing him.’ No person came for the rest of the day.” Witnesses confirmed that medical personnel were aware of the origin of the wounds that they treated and would advise them to confess to being a member of the CPN-M to avoid further torture.
One former detainee remembers a medical assistant’s advice while treating his wounds from torture: “If you were not a Maobadi, maybe you would be earning good money. You would not have been beaten. If you show the other Maobadi, you won’t be beaten”. None of the witnesses accused members of the medical team of directly participating in torture or ill-treatment. Few witnesses, however, described any sympathetic care by medical assistants. The general approach was to provide treatment without questioning, at least not openly, the ill-treatment.
Cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions of detention
All of the witnesses interviewed by OHCHR consistently describe the cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions in which the detainees were held for up to 18 months, permanently handcuffed and blindfolded. These constraints were removed only when the RNA acknowledged a detention and submitted to inspections. Some victims described these general conditions to be cumulatively worse than the formal torture and threat of execution. Particularly in late 2003 and early 2004, these cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions included meagre and unhygienic rations of rice and watery lentil soup, lack of access to clean water for bathing and cleaning clothes, untreated lice infestations, restricted movement, and virtually no medical attention to disease and wounds until individuals were close to death.
OHCHR received credible reports of at least three deaths due to, or aggravated by, these conditions, described in more detail below.
Apart from for a number of limited activities, detainees spent day and night lying in a prone position on a thin mat on the floor, with their hands handcuffed behind their back or, less commonly, in front, and blindfolded. One detainee, who survived 260 days in this condition, describes this situation as worse than all of the beating and torture combined. Many former detainees echoed this conclusion. The Bhairabnath battalion maintained close 24-hour surveillance of detainees in both the Garage and in the Hall, with the clear rule that there should be no movement of any kind that was not either ordered by the RNA (for purposes of interrogation and punishment) or explicitly permitted, which in practice meant the use of the toilet and eating twice a day.
Visits to the toilet usually involved waiting in a line-up, sometimes for several hours. Meals were consumed sitting up at one’s sleeping place following a shift of handcuffs from back to front. ‘Exercise’ was imposed every morning during certain periods in a cruel and degrading fashion, with beating of those unable to perform jumping on the spot, standing on one’s head, or carrying fellow detainees on one’s back. During some periods in the Garage, detainees were made to stand up every hour for ten or fifteen minutes during the night. Brief access to the water tank for washing one’s face varied over time and between locations.
Detainees were handcuffed permanently except when using the toilet. At night, most detainees were handcuffed behind their backs. During the day, some detainees were permitted to remain handcuffed in front, while all were handcuffed in front during two meal times. Both metal handcuffs and rope were used. Some detainees preferred metal, because it tended to provide more freedom of movement than tightly knotted rope. Others stated that the metal was less desirable because it cut into the skin and bone, but in these cases their rope tended to be tied with sufficient slack to allow some movement. Lying down with hands cuffed behind resulted eventually in skin sores and pain in the upper arms. Some long-term detainees became so completely habituated that, once released, they find themselves still sleeping with their arms behind them, as though handcuffed. A request to use the toilet between the fixed times was not always permitted and detainees were sometimes left no other choice but to soil their bedding.
When this occurred, some guards would use their plastic pipes to lift the bedding up and carry it out of the Hall. More often, however, a co-detainee would remove his shirt and use it to clean the area if there was a sympathetic guard to move the handcuffs from back to front. On other occasions, the bedding was left in that condition for some time. Some guards wore masks against odour and disease.
Prolonged sensory deprivation
All of the detainees were continuously blindfolded during their periods of detention by the Bhairabnath battalion. Most wore a black, red, or brown blindfold made of a nylon or polyester material with two layers and two sets of straps, one tied at the top of the head, the other at the neck. Some blindfolds would cover the whole face, including the mouth, but detainees routinely pushed the bottom up over the nose by rubbing the blindfold against their knee or other surface. Some detainees were forced to wear a full black hood continuously, tied at the neck, for several weeks, particularly in the early stages of their detentions. A hood was compulsory while undergoing interrogation and torture, except when detainees were asked to identify other suspected Maoists.
Peeking along one’s nose through the opening at the bottom of the blindfold was practised by most detainees, frequently at the cost of punishment, but also sometimes acknowledged and tolerated by some guards. Long-term detainees were eventually able to link familiar voices of guards and interrogating officers with their faces and, in most cases, a real name or code name. Blindfolds were regularly checked and tightened by guards, particularly in advance of visits by officers or before interrogation.
In 2005, some detainees developed a way of removing a portion of one of the two polyester layers, discreetly allowing almost complete vision through the remaining thin layer. Detainees lived in a constant state of fear and were desperate to learn the tiniest scraps of information: ‘who just arrived?’ ‘who just left?’ ‘has [this or that co-detainee] returned?’ ‘who is screaming?’ ‘what happened?’. The whispering occurred primarily when lining up for the toilet, while washing, and while lying in their assigned positions.
“Informal torture” relating to detention conditions
The low-ranking soldiers deployed as guards (sipai) regularly beat detainees accused of violating the rules such as the prohibition on movement (see below). Beatings by guards or by officers also occurred arbitrarily and without warning. Hard black plastic pipes were used for this purpose and produced open wounds, bruising, and swelling. Detainees were also regularly subject to kicks at any given moment without warning. A typical offence was slipping one’s legs through one’s arms in order to have the handcuffs in front, as sores and blood blisters were produced by sleeping with arms cuffed behind.
If discovered by guards, such infractions could result in being forced to stand all night, in beatings twenty or thirty times with plastic pipes, or in being thrown fully clothed into a cold pool outside. Beatings led to broken and lost teeth and bleeding from the mouth. In some cases, bleeding from ears was reported by witnesses. Other infractions resulting in similar punishment included speaking, or shifting one’s blindfold. Even without these apparent immediate motives, guards typically entered the Hall quietly and then, without warning, struck the floor or the wall forcefully with a plastic pipe. It was also common for a guard to sit in the passageway at the exit of the Hall and beat with a plastic pipe those detainees leaving the Hall in order to use the toilet.
They would again be beaten upon their return. Certain detainees were often made to stand in the middle of the Hall while they were beaten arbitrarily. This kind of arbitary punishment was not limited to the Hall. In another location inside Maharajgunj barracks, one survivor explained that: “… most of the people kept there [during one period] were beaten three times a day with a pipe. I was beaten twice, in the morning and in the evening, about ten blows. Others received two dozen, right there [in the place of detention], one after the other. Half of them were made to stand on their heads. I did this for two or three days then could not. Sometimes, while standing on the head, a soldier would come without a single word and kick him with his boot. The person would fall down”.
The result of these practices was to maintain detainees in a permanent state of anxiety, combined with varying levels of depression and fear. Some former detainees described their efforts to cope. One individual decided that the outside world could no longer assist him, and made an effort to keep a clear and attentive mind focussed only on the present. Other individuals assumed leadership roles in trying to encourage other detainees. Some were more acquiescent to the guards and officers and attempted to please them, while others were constantly taking risks to speak, to peek beneath blindfolds, to gather information from more sympathetic guards. Some detainees chose to ignore their co-detainees out of fear or on the assumption that their cases were different, that they would be released if only they kept to themselves and obeyed instructions. Some detainees sank into deep depression, exacerbated by illness.
Access to medical treatment
A team of medical assistants in civilian clothes was usually available when detainees were in serious condition. Lesser illnesses or wounds were not treated. A saline drip apparatus was kept in the narrow passageway adjacent to the Hall and was used on several occasions according to witnesses and victims. Because lesser wounds and illnesses were left untreated, it was common for infections to develop. Several survivors interviewed by OHCHR recalled the sight of shirts stuck to wounds with dried blood and pus. It was not unusual to see some individuals coughing up blood. Former detainees also recall that the smell in the Hall became so strong that guards wore masks, although some witnesses speculated that this may also have been a measure to avoid contracting any contagious illnesses. There were periods when colds and fever would affect many detainees.
The detainees themselves became accustomed to the odour of sweat, vomit, urine and suppurating wounds. Until their transfer to the high security tents in Yuddha Bhairab detention facility in March 2004, medical assistance from a doctor only occurred if a detainee was taken to hospital for treatment. Regular RNA health assistants provided resuscitation of detainees and the provision of saline intravenous treatment to those who lost consciousness due to torture. After their transfer to the High Security Tents, medical attention and access to water for washing improved.
Detentions at Maharajgunj barracks continued even after the RNA acknowledged the arrest and detention of certain people, for instance in responses to habeas corpus petitions filed in the Supreme Court. The RNA, however, never acknowledged the arrest of those currently disappeared nor the role played by members of the Bhairabnath and Yuddha Bhairab battalions in their detention during 2003 of those subsequently transferred to prison and/or released. In the course of its investigation to date, OHCHR has gathered 49 names of individuals held in Maharajgunj barracks but who have neither been confirmed released nor acknowledged to be in detention.
It is possible that others also disappeared from Maharajgunj barracks whose names will emerge in the course of ongoing investigations. The list of 49 individuals includes many of those detained in the Hall who were removed and never seen again during the last week of December 2003. Some former co-detainees recall, in particular, the night 20 December 2003 (5 Poush 2060). This date became significant only in hindsight; after they noticed that a large group of detainees who were taken out on that night or within one or two days of this date had not returned. As on many other nights, guards entered the Hall and removed individuals quietly. Some detainees were asleep and did not notice anything unusual. Others, however, observed their co-detainees being escorted outside of the Hall. One former detainee said that he was also taken out of the Hall and loaded into a truck but then finally left behind. Another former detainee said he pretended to need the toilet and observed the loading of individuals into a truck at about 10pm before he was taken back to the Hall and told his turn would come another day.
A third former detainee remembered that RNA soldiers who came that night were wearing boots, unlike the more quiet canvas shoes of the guards. He said that they entered the Hall at about 10:30pm. He said he remembered how Bhim Giri was woken up by a guard and taken away. He could hear the sound of trucks outside. He also heard the sound of radios. In early December 2003, the Garage was being used by the Bhairabnath battalion to detain approximately 40 men and women of less military or political significance. After the removal of between forty and fifty individuals from the Hall in December 2003, many of those still detained in the Garage were gradually transferred to the Hall.
Eighteen months after this date, an officer in Bhairabnath battalion said to one former detainee that he should not think any longer about his “friends”, implying their death. The names of those removed were no longer heard as had been common when an individual was present. During interrogations, officers stopped asking questions related to any of the former detainees in the Hall. Most former detainees interviewed by OHCHR believe that these detainees were executed.
Death in custody
Among those former detainees whose whereabouts are still not clarified are three individuals who were reported very ill when last seen by many former co-detainees in 2004 and in early 2005. Khadka Bahadur Gharti Magar, a middle-aged businessman, Padam Narayan Nakarmi and Kiran Rayamaji, both students, are believed to have died while in custody in early 2004 and in early 2005 as a result of ill-treatment and torture and related health problems that were allowed to worsen without necessary medical treatment.
Detainees recall that by late December 2003, Gharti Magar and Narayan Nakarmi were both suffering from severe swelling of the body and overall weakness. Several detainees recall that both begged guards and officers for more food during a long period. Khadka Bahadur Gharti Magar begged officers to request money from his relatives to buy food. All of the detainees suffered from malnutrition, which made everyone susceptible to illness. Such illness became severe in the case of these two individuals. Padam Narayan Nakarmi eventually could not eat and may have developed tuberculosis. By the month of March 2004, within days of one another, they were separately removed from the Hall on stretchers. It was unclear to witnesses whether they were still alive at that point.
The RNA allegedly returned the body of Khadka Bahadur Gharti Magar to his family. Neither individual is included in the official list of detainees as provided to OHCHR by the Bhairabnath battalion. The whereabouts of these two individuals is still unkown. A third individual, Kiran Rayamaji, developed a serious eye disease of the right eye. Numerous witnesses are able to describe how the eye increasingly protruded, causing immense pain. He was apparently taken to hospital for a week at one point during 2004, but without any apparent improvement following his return to Maharajgunj. He was left behind in Maharajgunj when other detainees were transferred to Sivapuri in January 2005. He remains on the list of disappeared.
Conclusions and recommendations
OHCHR finds that the RNA’s 10th Brigade systematically arrested, held in secret detention, and tortured suspected CPN-M members at its Maharajgunj barracks in 2003. The RNA 10th Brigade consisted of three battalions in 2003, as it still does today: Bhairabnath, Yuddha Bhairab, and Mahabir. The first two battalions shared the Maharajgunj army camp, located in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. In addition, the Yuddha Bhairab battalion had a camp at Sivapuri, to the northeast of Kathmandu. The Mahabir battalion was and remains located in the Chhauni army camp, which it shares with Jagadal battalion, to the west of Kathmandu. The Bhairabnath battalion, commanded at the relevant time by Lt. Col. Raju Basnet, played a leading role in this RNA operation. The RNA Chief of Army Staff, the Director-General of Military Operations, the Director of Military Intelligence and the Commander of the 10th Brigade also knew or ought to have known about these actions by the battalions under the command of the 10th Brigade.
Detainees were subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment while permanently blindfolded and handcuffed for up to eighteen months. At least 49 of these detainees were known to have been held by the battalion and to have disappeared on 20 December 2003 or shortly thereafter, never to be seen again since. Notwithstanding the continuing denial by the RNA of knowledge of these 49 disappearances, OHCHR concludes that all were arrested under authority of the 10th Brigade and held principally by its Bhairabnath battalion during the period from September to December 2003.
OHCHR continues to investigate the fate or whereabouts of others currently on lists of disappeared from that period, including the role that may have been played by the 10th Brigade in their arrest and subsequent disappearance. OHCHR recommends that the following steps be taken immediately:
1. Establish a credible, competent, impartial and fully independent investigation into the arrest, detention, torture, and ultimate fate or whereabouts of the people who were held by the 10th Brigade and who are reported as disappeared.
2. Such an investigation might be part of a wider investigation to ascertain the fate or whereabouts of all those who disappeared and the responsibility of other units of the RNA for such violations of human rights.
3. Those potentially implicated directly or through command responsibility for units involved should be suspended from any official duties pending the investigation, and should not be proposed for participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
4. The investigation should also examine the role played by members of the medical profession in engaging, actively or passively, in acts which constitute participation or complicity in ill-treatment and torture.
5. All necessary measures should be taken to ensure that witnesses and former detainees will not be subjected to threats or intimidation. The unlawful practice of requiring former detainees to report to the Nepalese Army on a regular basis should be ended immediately.
6. The findings of the investigation should be made public and widely disseminated.
7. Persons against whom there is evidence of criminal responsibility should be brought to justice before a civilian court.