Nepalese Gay Prisoners Released
August 23, 2004
By Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.
Thirty-nine members of a gay rights group who were
arrested in Nepal to the shock of international human rights groups have been
released on bail, and many have spoken of the violence directed at them during
The mostly gay and transgender people were arrested on
Aug. 9 while at a club in Kathmandu.
The arrests followed ongoing accusations of anti-gay
attacks from the government and police force in Nepal, as well as a threat to
close the Blue Diamond Society (BDS)—a gay rights group that offers
information on HIV/AIDS—for promoting homosexuality.
Since the release, the chief of the BDS has issued a
statement recounting some of the attacks that took place during the
He said that at least one person was beaten by police so
badly that he needed medication, while another was attacked after accusing the
officers of allowing a journalist to film them in their cell.
Additionally, he said in a statement Monday that group
members were verbally abused by the officers, who also threatened to shoot
them, throw acid in their face and keep them imprisoned for the long term.
Some of the illiterate members of the group were also forced to sign
statements without having them explained.
The case has sparked international criticism of Nepal,
with the Human Rights Watch condemning the government for allowing attacks to
“The Blue Diamond Society has faced harassment from the
Nepalese government as they defend the rights of some of the most vulnerable
members of society,” Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Rights Project at Human Rights Watch said earlier this month.
“In a context of an escalating civil war, respect for
the rule of law is steadily eroding in Nepal,” he added. “Nepalese
authorities must show their commitment to ensuring basic rights for all people
All 39 detainees were released on bail (at approximately
$500 each), and have been ordered to attend court on Sept. 20 to face charges.
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