Monday, November 20, 2006
Nepal: King Blamed for deadly crackdown on protests
Mon Nov 20, 3:33 AM ET
by Binaj Gurubacharya
KATMANDU, Nepal - A government commission investigating Nepal's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators blamed the violence on the country's king and recommended punishing the monarch, officials said Monday.
It was unclear, though, what the penalty against King Gyanendra might be. Nepal has no laws concerning how to punish crimes by a king and the case is the first involving a monarch in a country where kings are revered as near-deities.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said those found guilty in the commission's report would be punished.
The April crackdown left at least 19 people dead and hundreds injured and eventually forced the king to cede power and reinstate parliament after 14-months of direct rule by the monarch.
Parliament then quickly stripped Gyanendra of his powers, his command over the army and his immunity from prosecution.
The commission questioned top government and security officials. It also sent written questions to the Gyanendra, but the king did not respond, giving no reason.
Commission member Harihar Birahi said the investigation focused on official misuse of power, state funds and human rights abuses during the king's authoritarian rule.
Besides Gyanendra, the commission also found another 201 officials in the king's administration responsible for the bloody crackdown.
They included the chiefs of the police and the armed forces. The chiefs of the civil and armed police have been suspended while the army chief has retired.
Hundreds of pro-democracy activists were also detained during the April crackdown, and some said they were tortured.