Nepal: Explosions & attacks put new Constitution in jeopardy *Egypt: Massacre case dropped for “lack of evidence”

May 5, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Nepal, May 03, 2012: Two bombs explode in Ramanda Chowk, Terai, one targeting a sit-in by ethnic Madhesi, killing four. Fear of attacks is growing ahead of the deadline for the new constitution on 27 May.

The city of Ramanda Chowk, Janakapur District (Terai, southern Nepal) was hit by a number of attacks recently. A bomb exploded yesterday at the Janaki Cinema Hall; no one was killed or wounded. On Monday, four people were killed and more than 30 wounded when another bomb went off near a sit-in protest by ethnic Madhesi, a local indigenous people, in favour of a federal state. Police blamed both attacks on the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), a terrorist group fighting for the liberation of the Terai region, which claimed responsibility for the Monday bombing.

Less than a month before the country’s new constitution is supposed to come into effect on 27 May, relations between the Hindu majority and Nepal’s 60 or so ethnic and religious minorities continue to be tense. Minorities want guaranteed protection and rights in the new national charter.

Sources told AsiaNews that in the capital residents are also afraid of attacks, and are staying away from public rallies, sit-ins and demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Bhattarai has conducted a cabinet shuffle today to find an agreement among the country’s political parties to complete the final draft of the constitution.

The new cabinet would include people from the conservative leaning Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (UML).

Indian-styled federalism, re-districting, new civil and penal codes with anti-conversion clauses, and freedom of religion and worship are among the issues that must be still discussed.

Since it was elected in2 008, the country’s constituent assembly has postponed the deadline for the new constitution six times. Even now, it is unclear whether the current government can meet the latest deadline. In case of failure, the country could slide towards institutional chaos.

The adoption of a new constitution is part of the process of national reconciliation that began after 11 years of civil war. The latter ended with the fall of Nepal’s absolute Hindu monarchy when a global peace accord was reached by the country’s armed forces and Maoist rebels. The deal was signed on 21 November 2006 under the aegis of the United Nations and the international community.

The war claimed the lives of 12,800 people and caused about 100,000 refugees.

– asianews

Egypt: Christian massacre case dropped due to “lack of evidence”


Egypt, May 03, 2012: The closing of an investigation into the massacre of Christians during a protest in Egypt has been slammed as a “farce” by a woman whose fiancé was crushed under a military vehicle.

A panel of judges had been appointed by the minister of justice to investigate the incident, which happened on 9 October 2011 when Christians were demonstrating against the torching of a church and other injustices. They came under brutal attack by security forces, Islamists and violent thugs; 27 Christians were killed and 329 people were injured.

On 24 April, the case was closed, with judges citing a lack of evidence; Judge Sarwat Hammad said there was “lack of identification of the culprits” who killed nine Christians with ammunition.    

Vivian Magdi, whose fiancé Michael Mosad was crushed under a military vehicle, said that dropping the case against an “unknown” was a “farce”.

Mary Daniel, whose sister Mina was shot dead during the incident, added:

This case is being handled by the killer [the state] and of course it would be impossible for the killer to condemn himself.

Charges against 28 Christians who had been detained in connection with the incident were also dropped for lack of evidence. But two Christians were referred to the criminal court accused of stealing a machine gun from a military vehicle and, incredibly, using it to kill fellow Christians.

Said Fayez, one of the Christians’ defence lawyers, said that the rights of those who were killed have been denied by a judiciary that is just filling space. He vowed to continue fighting for justice.

A military court will hear the case of three conscripts who were allegedly driving the military armoured vehicles that ran over and killed 14 Christians. They are charged with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

– barnabas team

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